Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as thought about in our historical blog sites, examine the crucial advantages of mediation and other approaches of dispute resolution as a way of solving the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation usually starts with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation process and consider individually with them whether there are any concerns which would indicate that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party independently (this is typically called a Mediation Info Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and describe a bit more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary meetings are private and so the content will not be talked about with the other party.
First joint meeting
following the specific conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will organize a joint session with the mediator. The very first meeting is utilized to go through the Agreement to Moderate type, handle any interim or pressing concerns and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Further joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend on the concerns the parties wish to cover but this will generally involve conversation around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible monetary settlement.
In the event that a contract is reached, the mediator can tape-record the pertinent details and decisions in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary info as set out in the monetary disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the overall choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be divulged in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters moms and dads wish to record in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding till the parties have had independent legal recommendations on it. As soon as this has actually happened, among the party’s legal representatives will usually 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 wrong for everyone and the mediator and a party’s own lawyer will think about any problems which may make mediation unsuitable 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 encourage the parties to set the agenda and verify what they want to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters essential to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court procedure.
- 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 speed. You won’t need to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court process, and similarly you can guarantee you each have sufficient time to collate monetary disclosure and review tips made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to suit your family. This is in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge might not have the power to enforce similar plans or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular idea may be 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 designed to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and private process which indicates that parties are motivated to be open about choices they want to think about. This usually leads to parties making recommendations they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile clients, it is likewise a way of keeping details of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Costs and speed
if successful, mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court procedures. By setting the agenda and picking the variety of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the procedure than when they are part of court proceedings. The mediator will also handle the process and make sure that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can supply an important method of fixing family disputes successfully and amicably and it must be something that is encouraged all year.