Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation process and, as thought about in our historical blogs, examine the essential advantages of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution as a way of resolving the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation normally begins with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation procedure and consider individually with them whether there are any issues which would imply that mediation is not appropriate.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration independently (this is typically called a Mediation Information Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and discuss a little bit more about the mediation process. The initial meetings are personal and so the material will not be gone over with the other party.
following the specific conferences, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will organize a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is used to go through the Arrangement to Moderate type, handle any interim or pressing concerns and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Additional joint conferences
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the problems the parties wish to cover but this will generally include conversation around the plans for the children followed by a review of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible monetary settlement.
On the occasion that an arrangement is reached, the mediator can record the pertinent 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 rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the conversations in mediation and the general choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be divulged in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents want to record in regard of the day to day care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding up until the parties have had independent legal recommendations on it. Once this has happened, one of 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 benefits to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and a party and the mediator’s own lawyer will consider any concerns which may make mediation tough or inappropriate. 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 motivate the parties to set the program and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can deal with matters crucial to your own family and those which might not otherwise matter in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and place convenient to you and the mediator. You select the length of time in between sessions and handle its speed. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court procedure, and similarly you can guarantee you each have adequate time to collate financial disclosure and assess recommendations made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to fit your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge may not have the power to impose comparable arrangements or has actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a particular tip may 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 designed to promote communication and a continuous co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and private process which implies that parties are encouraged to be open about choices they wish to consider. This generally leads to parties making tips they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile clients, it is also a way of keeping details of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Costs and speed
if effective, mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the agenda and selecting the variety of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the process than when they belong to court proceedings. If it is unproductive or making matters worse, the mediator will also ensure and manage the procedure that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has remained in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can supply an indispensable method of resolving family disputes successfully and amicably and it need to be something that is encouraged all year.