Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog site we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historical blogs, examine the essential advantages of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution as a method of solving the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
Very first call
mediation usually starts with the mediator having a short preliminary 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 problems which would mean that mediation is not proper.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration individually (this is typically called a Mediation Info Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and describe a little more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are private and so the material will not be talked about with the other party.
following the private meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first conference is utilized to go through the Contract to Mediate type, deal with any interim or pushing concerns and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Further joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the concerns the parties wish to cover but this will generally include discussion around the arrangements for the children followed by a review of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
On the occasion that an arrangement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the pertinent details and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary info as set out in the monetary disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the overall choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Plan
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents want to record in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding until the parties have actually had independent legal advice on it. As soon as this has actually happened, one of the party’s attorneys 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, some of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and the mediator and a party’s own lawyer will consider any concerns which might make mediation unsuitable or difficult. 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 motivate the parties to set the agenda 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 convenient to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time in between sessions and manage its rate. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court process, and equally you can ensure you each have sufficient time to collect financial disclosure and review tips made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to suit your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed decisions where the judge may not have the power to enforce similar plans or has actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific tip may be better.
a mediator’s function is to facilitate a discussion in between the parties and encourage suggestions about the result. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is most likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is developed to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship. This is particularly crucial for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and personal procedure which implies that parties are encouraged to be open about options they want to consider. This normally leads to parties making recommendations they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile clients, it is likewise a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court proceedings if successful. 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 manage the process and ensure that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can supply an indispensable method of resolving family conflicts successfully and amicably and it should be something that is encouraged all year.