Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historic blogs, examine the key advantages of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution as a way of dealing with the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation typically starts with the mediator having a brief preliminary call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation process and consider independently with them whether there are any concerns which would suggest that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each party independently (this is typically called a Mediation Information Evaluation Satisfying (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and discuss a bit more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary meetings are private and so the material will not be discussed with the other celebration.
following the private conferences, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will organize a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is utilized to go through the Agreement to Moderate type, handle any interim or pushing problems and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend on the issues the parties want to cover however this will normally involve discussion around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
On the occasion that a contract is reached, the mediator can tape the appropriate information and decisions in a number of documents called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial info as set out in the financial disclosure offered. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be divulged in any court procedures.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters moms and dads wish to record in respect of the everyday care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding until the parties have actually had independent legal advice on it. Once this has actually taken place, among the party’s legal representatives will generally turn the Memorandum of Comprehending 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 procedure, some of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everybody and a celebration and the mediator’s own lawyer will consider any concerns which may make mediation unsuitable or hard. 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 program and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters important to your own family and those which may not otherwise matter in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and location hassle-free to you and the mediator. You select the length of time between sessions and manage its speed. You will not need to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court procedure, and similarly you can guarantee you each have sufficient time to collate financial disclosure and review suggestions made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to match your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge might not have the power to enforce similar arrangements or has actually disliked the subtlety of why a particular suggestion might be better.
a mediator’s role is to assist in a dialogue in between the parties and motivate recommendations about the result. When a decision is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is developed to promote communication and a continuous co-parenting relationship. This is particularly essential 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 indicates that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they wish to consider. This typically results in parties making suggestions they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is also a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
Mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court procedures if successful. By setting the agenda and picking the variety of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they are part of court procedures. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will also ensure and manage the procedure that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in suitable cases it can provide an important method of dealing with family conflicts effectively and agreeably and it must be something that is encouraged all year.