Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historic blog sites, analyze the key benefits of mediation and other techniques of dispute resolution as a way of dealing with the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation generally starts with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to speak with the parties about the mediation procedure and consider separately with them whether there are any issues which would mean that mediation is not suitable.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party individually (this is often called a Mediation Info Evaluation Fulfilling (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and explain a bit more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are private and so the material will not be gone over with the other party.
following the private meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will organize a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is used to go through the Contract to Moderate type, deal with any interim or pressing issues and to set the program for future sessions.
Additional joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend on the problems the parties want to cover but this will usually involve discussion around the plans for the children followed by a review of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
On the occasion that a contract is reached, the mediator can record the pertinent information and choices in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary information as set out in the financial disclosure supplied. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters moms and dads wish to document in regard of the daily care of their children.
Any contract reached in mediation is not legally binding up until the parties have actually had independent legal suggestions on it. As soon as this has actually taken place, among the celebration’s legal representatives will generally 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 variety of benefits to the mediation process, some of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everybody and the mediator and a party’s own solicitor will consider any issues 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 encourage the parties to set the program and verify 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 scheduled a time and place convenient to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time between sessions and manage its pace. You will not have to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court process, and similarly you can guarantee you each have enough time to collect monetary disclosure and review recommendations made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to suit your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge might not have the power to impose comparable arrangements or has not appreciated the subtlety of why a particular idea 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 designed to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a confidential and private process which implies that parties are motivated to be open about options they want to think about. This generally leads to parties making tips they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile customers, it is likewise a method of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if successful, mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court procedures. By setting the agenda and selecting the variety of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the process than when they are part of court proceedings. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will also make sure and handle the procedure that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in suitable cases it can supply an important way of dealing with family disputes efficiently and amicably and it must be something that is encouraged all year.