Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation process and, as thought about in our historical blogs, analyze the essential benefits of mediation and other methods of disagreement resolution as a method of dealing with the useful plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation usually starts 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 independently with them whether there are any issues which would indicate that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration separately (this is often called a Mediation Info Assessment Fulfilling (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and discuss a little bit more about the mediation process. The initial meetings are private therefore the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
First joint meeting
following the private conferences, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first conference is used to go through the Agreement to Moderate kind, deal with any interim or pressing concerns and to set the agenda for future sessions.
More joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the concerns the parties wish to cover however this will generally include discussion around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
In the event that an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the relevant details and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary details as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open instead of 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 revealed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Plan
this records the plans for the children and any other matters moms and dads wish to record in respect of the everyday care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding up until the parties have actually had independent legal advice on it. Once this has actually taken place, among the celebration’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 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 a celebration and the mediator’s own solicitor will think about any issues which might make mediation tough or inappropriate. The benefits 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 encourage the parties to set the program and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters essential to your own family and those which may not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and place convenient to you and the mediator. You choose the length of time in between sessions and handle its pace. You won’t need to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court procedure, and similarly you can guarantee you each have enough time to collate financial disclosure and review tips made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be tailored to match your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed decisions where the judge may not have the power to enforce similar plans or has not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific suggestion may 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 developed to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and confidential procedure which means that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they wish to consider. This usually leads to parties making suggestions they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is likewise a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court procedures if effective. By setting the program and selecting the number of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the process than when they are part of court proceedings. The mediator will also guarantee and manage the procedure that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can offer an invaluable method of fixing family disagreements successfully and amicably and it ought to be something that is encouraged all year.