Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as considered in our historic blog sites, analyze the crucial benefits of mediation and other methods of conflict resolution as a way of resolving the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation normally begins with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation process and think about separately with them whether there are any issues which would imply that mediation is not suitable.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each party separately (this is typically called a Mediation Info Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and explain a bit more about the mediation process. The initial meetings are private therefore the material will not be discussed with the other party.
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 Arrangement to Moderate kind, handle any interim or pushing issues and to set the agenda for future sessions.
More joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend on the issues the parties want to cover however this will generally include discussion around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible monetary settlement.
In the event that an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape the relevant information and decisions in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial details as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open instead of without prejudice document.
- 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 plans for the children and any other matters parents wish to record in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding until the parties have actually had independent legal guidance on it. Once this has occurred, among the party’s legal representatives will generally 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 variety of benefits to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is wrong for everybody and the mediator and a celebration’s own solicitor will consider any concerns which may make mediation inappropriate or challenging. The advantages 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 verify what they wish to cover in mediation. You can address matters important to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and place convenient to you and the mediator. You select the length of time between sessions and manage its rate. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court process, and equally you can ensure you each have sufficient time to collect monetary disclosure and assess recommendations made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be tailored to suit your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge might not have the power to enforce similar plans or has actually disliked the subtlety of why a specific idea might be 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 developed to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
mediation is a private and confidential procedure which indicates that parties are motivated to be open about choices they wish to think about. This usually results in parties making tips they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile customers, it is also a method of keeping details 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 far more control over the procedure than when they belong to court procedures. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will likewise make sure and manage the procedure that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can supply an invaluable method of resolving family disagreements efficiently and amicably and it ought to be something that is encouraged all year.