Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historic blogs, analyze the essential advantages of mediation and other approaches of dispute resolution as a way of fixing the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
Very first call
mediation generally starts with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk with the parties about the mediation procedure and think about separately with them whether there are any issues which would imply that mediation is not proper.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration individually (this is typically called a Mediation Info Assessment Fulfilling (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and explain a bit more about the mediation procedure. The initial conferences are confidential therefore the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
First joint meeting
following the private meetings, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is used to go through the Agreement to Mediate form, handle any interim or pressing problems and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Additional joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the problems the parties want to cover but this will generally include discussion around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible financial settlement.
In the event that a contract is reached, the mediator can record the relevant details and choices in a variety of files called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ financial information as set out in the monetary disclosure supplied. This is an open instead of without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the general decisions reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be revealed 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 arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding up until the parties have actually had independent legal advice on it. When this has actually happened, among the party’s legal representatives will normally turn the Memorandum of Understanding into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The advantages 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 everybody and the mediator and a celebration’s own lawyer will think about any problems which might make mediation inappropriate or difficult. The benefits include:
- The mediator will encourage the parties to set the program and validate what they wish to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters important to your own family and those which may not otherwise be relevant in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and location hassle-free to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time between sessions and manage its speed. 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 enough time to look at monetary disclosure and reflect on tips made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to match your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge might not have the power to impose similar arrangements or has not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific recommendation might be better.
a mediator’s function is to facilitate a dialogue between the parties and encourage ideas about the outcome. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is most likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is developed to promote communication and a continuous co-parenting relationship. This is especially crucial for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a personal and personal procedure which means that parties are encouraged to be open about choices they wish to consider. This generally results in parties making tips they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile customers, it is likewise a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court proceedings if effective. By setting the program and choosing the number of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the process than when they become part of court proceedings. The mediator will likewise guarantee and handle the procedure that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Although family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can offer an indispensable way of solving family disagreements successfully and agreeably and it ought to be something that is encouraged all year.