Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as thought about in our historic blog sites, analyze the crucial benefits of mediation and other techniques of conflict resolution as a way of dealing with the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation usually starts with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak with the parties about the mediation procedure and think about individually with them whether there are any issues which would suggest that mediation is not proper.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration separately (this is typically called a Mediation Info Evaluation Fulfilling (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and discuss a little more about the mediation process. The initial conferences are private therefore the content will not be talked about with the other celebration.
following the private meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The very first meeting is utilized to go through the Contract to Moderate kind, handle any interim or pressing issues 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 usually include discussion around the arrangements for the children followed by a review of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
In case an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the relevant info and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary info as set out in the monetary disclosure supplied. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the discussions in mediation and the general choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents want to document in respect of the everyday care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding up until the parties have had independent legal guidance on it. As soon as this has occurred, among the party’s lawyers 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 advantages to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is wrong for everybody and the mediator and a party’s own solicitor will consider any concerns which may make mediation unsuitable or hard. 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 agenda and confirm what they want to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters crucial to your own family and those which may not otherwise be relevant in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and place practical to you and the mediator. You select the length of time between sessions and handle its pace. You will not need to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court process, and similarly you can guarantee you each have enough time to collate financial disclosure and reflect on suggestions made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be tailored to fit your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed decisions where the judge might not have the power to impose similar arrangements or has actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a particular recommendation might be much better.
When a decision is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is created to promote communication and a continuous co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a confidential and personal procedure which means that parties are encouraged to be open about options they want to think about. This normally results in parties making recommendations they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is likewise a method of keeping information of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Costs and speed
Mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court procedures if effective. By setting the agenda and choosing the number of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the procedure than when they are part of court proceedings. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will also make sure and manage the process that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has been in focus today with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can offer an important method of resolving family disputes effectively and agreeably and it should be something that is encouraged all year.