Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation procedure and, as considered in our historic blogs, analyze the crucial advantages of mediation and other techniques of disagreement resolution as a method of dealing with the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation normally 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 procedure and think about separately with them whether there are any concerns which would imply that mediation is not proper.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each party individually (this is often called a Mediation Information Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and discuss a bit more about the mediation process. The initial conferences are private therefore the material will not be gone over with the other party.
following the specific conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first conference is used to go through the Contract to Mediate type, handle any interim or pushing problems and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the concerns the parties wish to cover however this will generally 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 agreement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the relevant info and choices in a number of documents called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary information as set out in the financial disclosure supplied. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the general choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be divulged in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents want to document in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not legally binding until the parties have actually had independent legal guidance on it. When this has taken place, one of the party’s lawyers 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 number of benefits 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 think about any problems which may make mediation challenging or unsuitable. 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 validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can address matters important to your own family and those which may not otherwise be relevant in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and location hassle-free to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time in between sessions and manage its speed. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court process, and similarly you can guarantee you each have enough time to look at financial disclosure and review tips made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to match your family. This is in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge may not have the power to enforce similar plans or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular recommendation may be much better.
a mediator’s function is to assist in a dialogue in between the parties and encourage ideas about the outcome. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stay with it. Mediation is designed to promote communication and a continuous co-parenting relationship. This is particularly crucial for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
mediation is a private and personal process which indicates that parties are encouraged to be open about choices they wish to think about. This typically results in parties making suggestions they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile customers, it is also a way of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if effective, mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court procedures. By setting the agenda and picking the number of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the procedure than when they are part of court procedures. If it is unproductive or making matters worse, the mediator will also guarantee and manage the procedure that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in suitable cases it can provide an important method of resolving family disagreements effectively and agreeably and it ought to be something that is encouraged all year.