Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as considered in our historic blog sites, examine the crucial advantages of mediation and other methods of disagreement resolution as a method of solving the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation usually begins with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation procedure and think about separately with them whether there are any problems which would mean that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party independently (this is typically called a Mediation Info Assessment Meeting (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and describe a little more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are confidential therefore the content will not be gone over with the other celebration.
First joint meeting
following the individual conferences, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will organize a joint session with the mediator. The first conference is used to go through the Arrangement to Mediate kind, handle any interim or pushing concerns and to set the program for future sessions.
More joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the issues the parties wish to cover but this will usually involve discussion around the plans for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
On the occasion that an arrangement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the pertinent info and choices in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary information as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the overall choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents wish to record in respect of the day to day care of their children.
Any contract reached in mediation is not legally binding up until the parties have actually had independent legal recommendations on it. As soon as this has taken place, one of the celebration’s lawyers will usually 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 benefits to the mediation procedure, a few of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everyone and the mediator and a celebration’s own solicitor will consider any problems which may make mediation inappropriate or difficult. 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 essential to your own family and those which might not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and location convenient to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time in between sessions and handle its pace. You will not need to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court process, and equally you can ensure you each have adequate time to look at financial disclosure and assess recommendations made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be tailored to fit your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge may not have the power to enforce similar arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a specific suggestion might be better.
a mediator’s function is to facilitate a dialogue between the parties and encourage tips about the result. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is most 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 particularly important for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and private procedure which implies that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they want to consider. This usually leads to parties making suggestions they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile clients, it is likewise a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if successful, mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the program 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 manage the procedure and make sure that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can supply an invaluable method of dealing with family disputes successfully and amicably and it ought to be something that is encouraged all year.