Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as considered in our historical blogs, examine the crucial advantages of mediation and other approaches of conflict resolution as a way of solving the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation typically begins with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation process and consider individually with them whether there are any concerns which would imply that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration individually (this is often called a Mediation Details Assessment Satisfying (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and discuss a bit more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary conferences are personal and so the content will not be discussed with the other party.
following the specific meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is used to go through the Arrangement to Moderate kind, handle any interim or pressing problems and to set the program for future sessions.
Additional joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the concerns the parties wish to cover but this will normally involve conversation around the plans for the children followed by a review of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible financial settlement.
On the occasion that a contract is reached, the mediator can record the appropriate details and decisions in a variety of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial information as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open instead of without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the overall decisions reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents wish to document in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any contract reached in mediation is not legally binding till the parties have actually had independent legal guidance on it. As soon as this has taken place, one of the party’s attorneys 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 advantages to the mediation process, some of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everyone and a party and the mediator’s own lawyer will think about any concerns which may make mediation inappropriate or difficult. 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 motivate the parties to set the program and confirm what they wish to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters important to your own family and those which might not otherwise matter in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and location convenient to you and the mediator. You choose the length of time in between sessions and manage its pace. You will not have to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court procedure, and equally you can ensure you each have enough time to collate monetary disclosure and review suggestions made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to fit your family. This remains in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge may not have the power to impose similar arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular recommendation may be much better.
a mediator’s role is to facilitate a dialogue in between the parties and encourage suggestions about the outcome. When a decision is made together in mediation, it is most 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 essential for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
mediation is a personal and private procedure which implies that parties are motivated to be open about choices they wish to think about. This normally leads to parties making recommendations they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile clients, it is also a way of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if successful, mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the program and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the procedure than when they are part of court procedures. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will likewise handle the procedure and guarantee that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can supply an invaluable method of dealing with family disagreements effectively and agreeably and it ought to be something that is motivated all year.