Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation process and, as considered in our historic blog sites, analyze the crucial benefits of mediation and other techniques of dispute resolution as a method of dealing with the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation generally begins with the mediator having a brief preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation procedure and consider individually with them whether there are any issues which would mean that mediation is not appropriate.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration independently (this is typically called a Mediation Information Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and discuss a little bit more about the mediation process. The preliminary conferences are confidential and so the material will not be gone over with the other party.
First joint meeting
following the private conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is utilized to go through the Arrangement to Moderate form, deal with any interim or pushing issues and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future meetings will depend on the concerns the parties want to cover however this will generally include conversation around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
In case a contract is reached, the mediator can record the pertinent information and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial info as set out in the monetary disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the total choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents wish to record in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not legally binding until the parties have actually had independent legal recommendations on it. Once this has happened, among the party’s legal representatives will usually turn the Memorandum of Understanding into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The advantages of family mediation
There are a variety of advantages to the mediation procedure, a few of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everybody and a party and the mediator’s own solicitor will think about any problems which might make mediation inappropriate or hard. The benefits consist of:
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 program and confirm what they want to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters important to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and location convenient to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time in between sessions and handle its speed. You will not need to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court process, and similarly you can ensure you each have adequate time to look at financial disclosure and assess tips made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be tailored to fit your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge might not have the power to enforce comparable arrangements or has not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific suggestion may be much better.
a mediator’s function is to facilitate a discussion in between the parties and encourage tips about the result. When a decision is made together in mediation, it is most likely that parties will be content with and stay with it. Mediation is designed to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship. This is particularly essential for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a personal and private process which implies that parties are motivated to be open about options they want to consider. This usually results in parties making ideas they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is also a method of keeping information of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court procedures if successful. By setting the program and choosing the number of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they become part of court proceedings. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will also ensure and handle the procedure that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can supply an important method of dealing with family disputes efficiently and amicably and it need to be something that is motivated all year.