Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as considered in our historic blogs, examine the key benefits of mediation and other approaches of disagreement resolution as a way of resolving the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation normally starts with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to speak with the parties about the mediation procedure and think about separately with them whether there are any issues which would suggest that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration separately (this is often called a Mediation Details Evaluation Fulfilling (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and explain a bit more about the mediation process. The initial meetings are personal therefore the material will not be gone over with the other party.
First joint conference
following the specific conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is utilized to go through the Contract to Mediate type, deal with any interim or pressing issues and to set the program for future sessions.
Additional joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the problems the parties wish to cover but this will normally include conversation around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible financial settlement.
In the event that a contract is reached, the mediator can tape the relevant information and choices in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary info as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the overall decisions reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be divulged in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters moms and dads wish to record in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding up until the parties have had independent legal suggestions on it. Once this has actually taken place, one of the celebration’s lawyers will normally turn the Memorandum of Comprehending into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The benefits of family mediation
There are a number of benefits to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everyone and the mediator and a party’s own solicitor will consider any concerns which might make mediation unsuitable or challenging. The benefits include:
Family mediation is a member of the ADR or alternative dispute resolution family. It forms one of the core pillars of mediation services provided globally.
Historically, it is not clear geographically where family mediation first evolved. However, family mediation has been present in various forms in various cultures world-wide for thousands of years.
The system is focused on providing a dispute resolution mechanism to families who are in dispute. Divorce mediation forms part of the family mediation tree of services.
Modern day family mediation is divided into two main fields namely mediation and comediation. In the former of the two fields a single mediator works with the family in dispute. In the latter of the two fields, two or more mediators work with a family in dispute. Mediations are completed by the use of either joint or single caucuses. In single caucuses the mediator/s caucus one party at a time. In joint caucuses the mediator/s work with all sides to the dispute present in the same session. The majority of family disputes have two sides however in family disputes between siblings it is not uncommon for several parties to be involved.
- The mediator will encourage the parties to set the agenda and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters essential to your own family and those which might not otherwise matter in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and place hassle-free to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time in between sessions and manage its pace. You will not have to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court process, and similarly you can guarantee you each have enough time to collect monetary disclosure and reflect on tips made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to fit your family. This remains in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge may not have the power to enforce similar plans or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular idea might be better.
When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is created to promote interaction and a continuous co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and private process which implies that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they want to think about. This normally leads to parties making tips they would hesitate to make in court procedures. For high profile customers, it is also a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if successful, mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court procedures. By setting the agenda and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the procedure than when they are part of court procedures. The mediator will also handle the procedure and make sure that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Although family mediation has remained in focus today with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can offer a vital method of resolving family disputes efficiently and amicably and it ought to be something that is motivated all year.