Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog site we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historical blog sites, analyze the crucial advantages of mediation and other techniques of disagreement resolution as a way of resolving the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation usually starts with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation procedure and consider independently with them whether there are any problems which would mean that mediation is not suitable.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration independently (this is typically called a Mediation Information Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and discuss a bit more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary meetings are confidential therefore the content will not be gone over with the other party.
First joint meeting
following the specific conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will organize a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is used to go through the Agreement to Moderate kind, 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 but this will typically include discussion around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
On the occasion that a contract is reached, the mediator can record the appropriate information and choices in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ financial information as set out in the financial disclosure supplied. This is an open instead of without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
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 proceedings.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents want to document in respect of the day to day care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding until the parties have had independent legal guidance on it. As soon as this has occurred, among the party’s attorneys will typically 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 advantages to the mediation process, a few of which are set out listed below. Mediation is not right for everyone and the mediator and a celebration’s own lawyer will consider any issues which may make mediation hard or inappropriate. 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 wish to cover in mediation. You can deal with matters crucial to your own family and those which may not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and location practical to you and the mediator. You select the length of time in between sessions and manage its speed. You will not have to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court process, and equally you can guarantee you each have enough time to collate financial disclosure and assess suggestions made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be tailored to fit your family. This is in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge might not have the power to enforce similar plans or has not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific suggestion may be much better.
When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more most likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is developed to promote communication and a continuous co-parenting relationship.
mediation is a personal and private process which means that parties are encouraged to be open about options they wish to think about. This typically results in parties making recommendations they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is likewise a method of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
Mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court proceedings if successful. By setting the agenda and choosing the number of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the process than when they are part of court proceedings. If it is unproductive 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 offer an invaluable method of fixing family disagreements successfully and amicably and it should be something that is encouraged all year.