Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation process and, as thought about in our historic blog sites, take a look at the crucial advantages of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution as a way of dealing with the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation generally begins with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation process and consider independently with them whether there are any issues which would mean that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration separately (this is typically called a Mediation Info Assessment Fulfilling (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and discuss a little bit more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary conferences are personal therefore the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
following the specific meetings, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is used to go through the Contract to Mediate form, deal with any interim or pressing issues and to set the program for future sessions.
Additional joint conferences
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the issues the parties want to cover but this will normally include conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
On the occasion that an agreement is reached, the mediator can record the pertinent info and choices in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ financial details as set out in the monetary disclosure offered. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the total choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be revealed in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents want to document in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding up until the parties have had independent legal guidance on it. When this has actually taken place, among the celebration’s lawyers will normally 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 benefits 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 consider any problems which may make mediation tough or unsuitable. 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 verify what they wish to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters essential to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and place convenient to you and the mediator. You select the length of time in between sessions and handle its pace. You will not need to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court process, and equally you can guarantee you each have enough time to collate monetary disclosure and review suggestions made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be tailored to fit your family. This is in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge may not have the power to enforce comparable plans or has actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific recommendation 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 developed to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a personal and confidential procedure which implies that parties are motivated to be open about choices they want to think about. This usually leads to parties making recommendations they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is likewise a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Costs and speed
Mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court procedures if effective. By setting the agenda and choosing the number of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they are part of court proceedings. The mediator will likewise guarantee and handle the process that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can supply an indispensable way of fixing family disputes successfully and amicably and it ought to be something that is encouraged all year.