Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as thought about in our historical blog sites, examine the key benefits of mediation and other techniques of disagreement resolution as a way of resolving the useful plans following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation generally begins with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation process and consider individually with them whether there are any concerns which would mean that mediation is not appropriate.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party individually (this is often called a Mediation Details Evaluation Fulfilling (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and describe a bit more about the mediation process. The initial conferences are private and so the material will not be talked about with the other party.
following the individual meetings, if the parties wish 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 kind, handle any interim or pressing concerns and to set the agenda for future sessions.
More joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend on the issues the parties want to cover but this will usually include conversation around the plans for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
In case an agreement is reached, the mediator can record the pertinent information and decisions in a variety of files called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ financial details as set out in the financial disclosure offered. This is an open instead of without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the general choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Plan
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents want to document in regard of the daily care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding up until the parties have actually had independent legal recommendations on it. When this has actually taken place, one of the party’s attorneys will typically turn the Memorandum of Understanding into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The benefits of family mediation
There are a number of advantages to the mediation process, some of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and a party and the mediator’s own solicitor will think about any concerns which may make mediation inappropriate or tough. The advantages 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 motivate the parties to set the program and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can address matters essential to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and location convenient to you and the mediator. You choose the length of time in between sessions and handle its speed. 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 look at financial disclosure and reflect on recommendations made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to suit your family. This is in contrast to court imposed decisions where the judge might not have the power to enforce comparable plans or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular suggestion might be better.
a mediator’s role is to help with a discussion in between the parties and motivate recommendations about the outcome. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is most likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is created to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship. This is particularly crucial for moms and dads who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a confidential and private process which indicates that parties are encouraged to be open about options they want to think about. This typically leads to parties making suggestions they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile customers, it is also a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
Mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court procedures if effective. By setting the program and selecting the variety of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they are part of court procedures. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will also make sure and handle the process that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has remained in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in suitable cases it can provide an important way of solving family disputes effectively and amicably and it must be something that is motivated all year.