Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historic blogs, take a look at the essential advantages of mediation and other techniques of conflict resolution as a way of solving the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation usually starts with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation process and think about separately with them whether there are any concerns which would mean that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration separately (this is often called a Mediation Information Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and describe a bit more about the mediation process. The preliminary conferences are confidential therefore the content will not be gone over with the other party.
First joint meeting
following the specific conferences, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The first conference is utilized to go through the Arrangement to Mediate type, deal with any interim or pressing issues and to set the program for future sessions.
Additional joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend on the issues the parties wish to cover however this will typically involve conversation around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation 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 relevant information and decisions in a variety of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary info as set out in the financial 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 disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters moms and dads want to record in regard of the everyday care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding until the parties have actually had independent legal suggestions on it. As soon as this has occurred, among the party’s legal representatives will generally 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 procedure, some of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everybody and a party and the mediator’s own lawyer will think about any issues which might make mediation inappropriate or challenging. The advantages include:
- The mediator will motivate the parties to set the agenda and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can deal with matters essential 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 rate. You will not have to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court process, and equally you can guarantee you each have enough time to collate financial disclosure and reflect on suggestions made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be tailored to suit your family. This is in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge might not have the power to enforce comparable arrangements or has actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific suggestion might be much better.
a mediator’s function is to help with a dialogue in between the parties and encourage suggestions about the result. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is most likely that parties will be content with and stay with it. Mediation is designed to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship. This is especially important for moms and dads who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and personal procedure which means that parties are encouraged to be open about alternatives they want to think about. This typically leads to parties making recommendations they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is also a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if effective, mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court procedures. By setting the agenda and choosing the number of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they are part of court proceedings. The mediator will also make sure and manage the process that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Although family mediation has actually been in focus today with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can supply an invaluable way of dealing with family disputes efficiently and agreeably and it must be something that is encouraged all year.