Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation procedure and, as considered in our historic blogs, take a look at the key advantages of mediation and other methods of conflict resolution as a method of dealing with the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
Very first call
mediation usually starts with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk with the parties about the mediation process and think about separately with them whether there are any concerns which would mean that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each party independently (this is typically called a Mediation Info Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and explain a bit more about the mediation procedure. The initial meetings are private therefore the content will not be talked about with the other party.
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 meeting is used to go through the Agreement to Mediate type, deal with any interim or pressing problems and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the problems the parties wish to cover however this will usually involve conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
On the occasion that a contract is reached, the mediator can record the relevant details and decisions in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ financial info as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open instead of without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be revealed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters moms and dads wish to record in regard of the day to day care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding till the parties have had independent legal guidance on it. As soon as this has taken place, one of the celebration’s legal representatives will usually turn the Memorandum of Comprehending into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The benefits of family mediation
There are a variety of advantages to the mediation process, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is not right for everybody and the mediator and a party’s own lawyer will consider any issues which might make mediation unsuitable or difficult. The advantages 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 program and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters important to your own family and those which might not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and place practical to you and the mediator. You choose the length of time in between sessions and handle its rate. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court process, and equally you can guarantee you each have sufficient time to collect financial disclosure and review suggestions made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be tailored to match your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge might not have the power to enforce comparable plans or has actually disliked the subtlety of why a particular suggestion might be much better.
a mediator’s role is to help with a discussion between the parties and motivate suggestions about the result. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stay with it. Mediation is designed to promote interaction and a continuous co-parenting relationship. This is especially crucial for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a personal and personal process which implies that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they wish to consider. This normally results in parties making recommendations they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile customers, it is likewise a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Costs and speed
if successful, mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court procedures. By setting the program and choosing the number 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 manage the procedure and make sure that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can offer an invaluable way of dealing with family disagreements successfully and amicably and it should be something that is encouraged all year.