Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historic blog sites, examine the essential advantages of mediation and other approaches of disagreement resolution as a way of dealing with the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation usually begins with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak with the parties about the mediation process and think about independently with them whether there are any issues which would mean that mediation is not proper.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration independently (this is often called a Mediation Information Assessment Fulfilling (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and discuss a little more about the mediation procedure. The initial conferences are confidential therefore the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
First joint conference
following the individual conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is utilized to go through the Agreement to Moderate form, deal with any interim or pushing problems and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the issues the parties want to cover however this will usually involve conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
In the event that an arrangement is reached, the mediator can record the pertinent information and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary information as set out in the monetary disclosure provided. This is an open instead of without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be divulged in any court procedures.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents want to document in regard of the daily care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding up until the parties have had independent legal suggestions on it. As soon as this has happened, among the party’s attorneys will generally 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 process, some of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and a party and the mediator’s own solicitor will think about any issues which may make mediation hard or unsuitable. 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 confirm what they wish to cover in mediation. You can address 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 manage its speed. You won’t need to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court procedure, and equally you can ensure you each have sufficient time to collect financial disclosure and review suggestions made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be tailored to fit your family. This is in contrast to court imposed decisions where the judge may not have the power to enforce comparable arrangements or has actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific recommendation may be better.
When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more most likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is created to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and personal process which implies that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they want to consider. This generally results in parties making suggestions they would hesitate to make in court procedures. For high profile customers, it is likewise a method of keeping information of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court procedures if effective. By setting the agenda and selecting 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 also guarantee and handle the process that mediation does not continue if it is unproductive or making matters worse.
Family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can provide an invaluable way of dealing with family conflicts effectively and amicably and it should be something that is motivated all year.