Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation procedure and, as considered in our historical blogs, take a look at the essential benefits of mediation and other methods of disagreement resolution as a method of solving the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation typically begins with the mediator having a brief preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation process and consider separately with them whether there are any issues which would imply that mediation is not proper.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration separately (this is often called a Mediation Details Assessment Fulfilling (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and discuss a bit more about the mediation process. The preliminary conferences are personal therefore the content will not be gone over 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 very first conference is utilized to go through the Agreement to Mediate kind, deal with any interim or pressing problems and to set the program for future sessions.
Additional joint conferences
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the issues the parties want to cover but this will usually involve conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
In case a contract is reached, the mediator can tape-record the appropriate information and decisions in a variety of files called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ financial information as set out in the financial disclosure supplied. This is an open instead of without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the conversations in mediation and the total choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents wish to record in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any contract reached in mediation is not lawfully binding up until the parties have actually had independent legal advice on it. Once this has actually occurred, one of the party’s legal representatives will typically 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 number of advantages to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everyone and the mediator and a party’s own solicitor will consider any issues which may make mediation inappropriate or challenging. The advantages consist of:
- The mediator will motivate the parties to set the agenda and validate what they wish to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters essential to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and place practical to you and the mediator. You select the length of time in between sessions and manage its pace. You will not have to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court process, and similarly you can ensure you each have adequate time to collate financial disclosure and assess recommendations made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to fit your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge may not have the power to impose similar plans or has not appreciated the subtlety of why a particular suggestion might be much better.
When a decision 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 a continuous co-parenting relationship.
mediation is a personal and confidential process which means that parties are encouraged to be open about alternatives they want to think about. This usually leads to parties making tips they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is also a way of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
Mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court proceedings if successful. By setting the program and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the process than when they belong to court proceedings. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will also manage the procedure and ensure that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has actually been in focus today with #FamilyMediationweek, in suitable cases it can provide an important way of solving family disagreements effectively and amicably and it ought to be something that is encouraged all year.