Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about 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 typically starts with the mediator having a short 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 problems which would imply that mediation is not appropriate.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each party individually (this is often called a Mediation Information Assessment Fulfilling (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and discuss a bit more about the mediation process. The initial meetings are personal and so the material will not be talked about with the other party.
First joint conference
following the individual conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is used to go through the Agreement to Mediate type, handle any interim or pushing concerns and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Additional joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend on the problems the parties want to cover however this will normally involve conversation around the plans for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible financial settlement.
On the occasion that an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the appropriate details and choices in a variety of files called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary information as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the general decisions reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be divulged in any court procedures.
- Parenting Plan
this records the plans for the children and any other matters moms and dads wish to document in respect of the day to day care of their children.
Any contract reached in mediation is not legally binding until the parties have had independent legal suggestions on it. Once this has occurred, one of the celebration’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 variety of benefits to the mediation process, a few of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everyone and a party and the mediator’s own solicitor will consider any issues which might make mediation challenging or inappropriate. 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 motivate the parties to set the agenda and verify what they want to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters essential to your own family and those which might not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and location convenient to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time between sessions and manage its speed. You won’t need 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 look at financial disclosure and assess ideas made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to match your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge may not have the power to impose comparable plans or has not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific suggestion might 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 communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and private procedure which implies that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they wish to consider. This normally leads to parties making recommendations they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile customers, it is also a method of keeping information of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court proceedings if effective. By setting the agenda and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they belong to court procedures. If it is unproductive or making matters worse, the mediator will likewise handle the procedure and guarantee that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can offer an important way of resolving family disputes efficiently and agreeably and it need to be something that is motivated all year.