Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as thought about in our historic blogs, take a look at the crucial advantages of mediation and other methods of conflict resolution as a way of dealing with the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation usually begins with the mediator having a brief preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation process and consider independently with them whether there are any concerns which would mean that mediation is not appropriate.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party separately (this is often called a Mediation Info Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and discuss a little bit more about the mediation process. The initial meetings are confidential and so the material will not be discussed 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 first meeting is utilized to go through the Contract to Moderate form, handle any interim or pushing problems and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend on the concerns the parties want to cover however 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 financial settlement.
In case an arrangement is reached, the mediator can record the relevant information and decisions in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary info as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall decisions 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 parents wish to record in respect of the day to day care of their children.
Any contract reached in mediation is not lawfully binding until the parties have had independent legal suggestions on it. Once this has actually happened, among the celebration’s attorneys 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 number of benefits 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 might make mediation challenging or inappropriate. The benefits 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 agenda and confirm what they wish to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters crucial to your own family and those which may not otherwise matter in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and place hassle-free to you and the mediator. You choose 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 procedure, and equally you can ensure you each have sufficient time to look at monetary disclosure and review suggestions made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to match your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge may not have the power to impose similar arrangements or has actually disliked the subtlety of why a specific suggestion may be much better.
a mediator’s function is to help with a dialogue between the parties and encourage suggestions about the outcome. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and adhere to it. Mediation is created to promote communication and a continuous co-parenting relationship. This is especially important for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a confidential and private procedure which means that parties are motivated to be open about options they wish to consider. This generally results in parties making suggestions they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile customers, it is also a method of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if effective, mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the agenda and selecting the variety of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they are part of court procedures. If it is unproductive or making matters worse, the mediator will likewise handle the process 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 method of fixing family conflicts efficiently and amicably and it must be something that is motivated all year.