Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historical blogs, examine the essential advantages of mediation and other approaches of conflict resolution as a method of resolving the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation normally begins with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk with the parties about the mediation procedure and think about independently with them whether there are any problems which would imply that mediation is not proper.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party individually (this is often called a Mediation Info Assessment Meeting (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and explain a little more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary meetings are personal therefore the material will not be discussed with the other party.
First joint meeting
following the individual conferences, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is utilized to go through the Arrangement to Moderate type, deal with any interim or pushing issues and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Additional joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend on the problems the parties wish to cover but this will normally include discussion around the plans for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible financial settlement.
On the occasion that an agreement is reached, the mediator can record the appropriate info and decisions in a number of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary information as set out in the monetary disclosure offered. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the conversations in mediation and the overall decisions reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be divulged 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 lawfully binding up until the parties have had independent legal suggestions on it. When this has taken place, one of the celebration’s lawyers 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 benefits to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is not right for everybody and the mediator and a celebration’s own solicitor will consider any problems which may make mediation challenging or unsuitable. The benefits 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 confirm what they wish to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters crucial to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court process.
- 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 manage its pace. You won’t need to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court procedure, and equally you can ensure you each have enough time to collect 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 actually disliked the subtlety of why a particular tip may be much better.
When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is designed to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and private procedure which indicates that parties are motivated to be open about options they wish to consider. This generally results in parties making tips 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.
- Expenses and speed
if successful, mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the agenda and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the process than when they become part of court procedures. The mediator will likewise make sure and manage the process that mediation does not continue if it is unproductive or making matters worse.
Although family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can offer an invaluable way of fixing family conflicts efficiently and amicably and it need to be something that is encouraged all year.