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 crucial advantages of mediation and other approaches of dispute resolution as a way of resolving the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation normally begins with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation procedure and consider separately with them whether there are any problems which would indicate that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration independently (this is typically called a Mediation Details Evaluation Fulfilling (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and explain a bit more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are confidential therefore the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
following the private conferences, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The very first meeting is used to go through the Contract to Mediate form, handle any interim or pressing concerns and to set the agenda for future sessions.
More joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the issues the parties want to cover but this will typically involve conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an expedition of possible monetary settlement.
In the event that an arrangement is reached, the mediator can record the appropriate details and decisions in a variety of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial info as set out in the monetary disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall decisions reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters moms and dads want to record in regard of the day to day care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding until the parties have had independent legal guidance on it. Once this has taken place, one of the party’s lawyers will normally turn the Memorandum of Comprehending 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 process, a few of which are set out listed below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and the mediator and a celebration’s own lawyer will think about any issues which might make mediation unsuitable or hard. The advantages 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 encourage the parties to set the program and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters essential to your own family and those which may not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and location practical to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time between sessions and manage its speed. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court process, and equally you can ensure you each have enough time to collate financial disclosure and reflect on ideas made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be tailored to fit your family. This remains in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge may not have the power to impose comparable plans or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular suggestion 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 created to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a confidential and private process which implies that parties are encouraged to be open about alternatives they want to think about. This normally leads to parties making suggestions they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. 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 proceedings if effective. By setting the agenda and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the procedure than when they belong to court procedures. The mediator will likewise guarantee and handle the process that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Although family mediation has remained in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can offer an indispensable way of solving family disputes successfully and amicably and it should be something that is motivated all year.