Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog site we summarise the mediation procedure and, as considered in our historical blogs, take a look at the crucial benefits of mediation and other methods of disagreement resolution as a method of solving the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation normally starts with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation procedure and consider individually with them whether there are any concerns which would suggest that mediation is not suitable.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration separately (this is typically called a Mediation Details Evaluation Fulfilling (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and discuss a little more about the mediation procedure. The initial meetings are confidential and so the material will not be talked about with the other celebration.
First joint meeting
following the private meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is used to go through the Agreement to Moderate form, deal with any interim or pressing problems and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Additional joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the concerns the parties wish to cover but this will normally include discussion around the arrangements for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an expedition of possible monetary settlement.
On the occasion that a contract is reached, the mediator can tape-record the appropriate information and decisions in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary details as set out in the monetary disclosure offered. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the total decisions reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be divulged in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents wish to record in regard of the everyday care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not legally binding up until the parties have actually had independent legal recommendations on it. When this has actually happened, among the party’s lawyers will typically 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 number of advantages to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everybody and the mediator and a celebration’s own lawyer will think about any concerns which might make mediation hard or inappropriate. The benefits consist of:
- The mediator will encourage the parties to set the agenda and validate what they wish to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters essential to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and location hassle-free to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time in between sessions and handle its pace. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court process, and similarly you can guarantee you each have adequate time to look at monetary disclosure and reflect on recommendations made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be tailored to match your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge may not have the power to enforce comparable arrangements or has actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a particular recommendation may 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 private and private procedure which implies that parties are motivated to be open about options they wish to think about. This generally leads to parties making recommendations they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is also a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs 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 far more control over the procedure than when they become part of court proceedings. If it is unproductive or making matters worse, the mediator will likewise manage the process and make sure that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can provide an indispensable method of solving family conflicts efficiently and amicably and it need to be something that is motivated all year.