Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as considered in our historical blogs, take a look at the essential benefits of mediation and other methods of conflict resolution as a method of fixing the useful plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation normally starts with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to talk with the parties about the mediation procedure and consider individually with them whether there are any concerns which would imply that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration separately (this is often called a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and explain a bit more about the mediation procedure. The initial meetings are confidential and so the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
First joint meeting
following the specific conferences, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first conference is used to go through the Agreement to Mediate type, deal with any interim or pushing concerns and to set the program for future sessions.
Additional joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend on the problems the parties want to cover but this will normally include conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
On the occasion that an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape the relevant details and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary information as set out in the monetary disclosure offered. This is an open instead of without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the conversations in mediation and the total choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents want to record in respect of the everyday care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding till the parties have had independent legal guidance on it. When this has actually happened, one of 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 number of benefits to the mediation process, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is wrong for everybody and the mediator and a party’s own solicitor will think about any issues which may make mediation unsuitable or difficult. 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 motivate the parties to set the program and confirm what they want to cover in mediation. You can resolve 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 location practical to you and the mediator. You choose the length of time between sessions and manage its speed. You will not have to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court procedure, and equally you can guarantee you each have enough time to collate financial disclosure and assess ideas made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to fit your family. This is in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge may not have the power to enforce comparable arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a specific suggestion might be better.
a mediator’s role is to assist in a discussion in between the parties and encourage suggestions about the outcome. When a decision is made together in mediation, it is most likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is designed to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship. This is especially crucial for moms and dads who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and confidential procedure which suggests that parties are motivated to be open about choices they wish to think about. This normally results in parties making recommendations they would hesitate to make in court procedures. For high profile clients, it is also a method of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court procedures if successful. By setting the agenda and selecting the number of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they belong to court proceedings. If it is unproductive or making matters worse, the mediator will also make sure and handle the process that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has actually remained in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in suitable cases it can provide an indispensable method of solving family conflicts efficiently and agreeably and it should be something that is encouraged all year.