Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation procedure and, as considered in our historical blog sites, take a look at the essential advantages of mediation and other techniques of disagreement resolution as a way of solving the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation typically 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 process and consider independently with them whether there are any problems which would suggest that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party separately (this is typically called a Mediation Information Evaluation Satisfying (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and discuss a little bit more about the mediation process. The initial conferences are private and so the content will not be gone over with the other party.
First joint conference
following the individual meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will organize a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is utilized to go through the Arrangement to Mediate type, deal with any interim or pushing problems and to set the agenda for future sessions.
More joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend on the issues the parties want to cover however this will normally involve conversation around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible financial 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 Declaration
this records the parties’ financial information as set out in the monetary disclosure supplied. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the total choices reached. This is a without prejudice file 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 regard of the everyday care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding till the parties have had independent legal recommendations on it. When this has occurred, one of the party’s attorneys 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 process, a few of which are set out listed below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and the mediator and a party’s own lawyer will consider any concerns which may make mediation challenging or inappropriate. 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 agenda and verify what they wish to cover in mediation. You can deal with matters essential 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 practical to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time between sessions and manage its speed. You will not need to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court process, and equally you can guarantee you each have adequate time to look at financial disclosure and review suggestions made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be tailored to fit your family. This remains in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge may not have the power to impose comparable plans or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular idea might be much better.
When a decision is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is created to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a personal and private procedure which implies that parties are encouraged to be open about options they wish to consider. 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 general public eye.
- Expenses and speed
if successful, mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court procedures. By setting the program and selecting the variety of sessions you have, parties have a lot more control over the procedure than when they are part of court proceedings. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will likewise manage the process and ensure that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can supply an indispensable way of dealing with family disputes efficiently and agreeably and it must be something that is motivated all year.