Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog site we summarise the mediation procedure and, as considered in our historic blogs, take a look at the essential benefits of mediation and other approaches of conflict resolution as a way of fixing the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
Very first call
mediation typically begins with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to speak with the parties about the mediation process and consider independently with them whether there are any concerns which would indicate that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration individually (this is typically called a Mediation Information Evaluation Fulfilling (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and explain a little bit more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are personal and so the content will not be talked about with the other celebration.
First joint conference
following the individual conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is used to go through the Contract to Mediate form, handle any interim or pressing problems and to set the agenda for future sessions.
More joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend on the concerns the parties wish to cover however this will typically involve conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by a review of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible financial settlement.
In the event that an arrangement is reached, the mediator can record the appropriate info and decisions in a number of files 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 file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the general choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be disclosed in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Strategy
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 arrangement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding till the parties have had independent legal advice on it. As soon as this has actually happened, one of the celebration’s lawyers will generally turn the Memorandum of Understanding into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The benefits of family mediation
There are a variety of advantages to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and the mediator and a celebration’s own lawyer will think about any concerns which may make mediation unsuitable or difficult. The advantages include:
- The mediator will motivate the parties to set the agenda and confirm what they want to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters important to your own family and those which may not otherwise be relevant in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and place convenient to you and the mediator. You choose the length of time between sessions and handle its pace. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court procedure, and equally you can guarantee you each have enough time to look at financial disclosure and assess suggestions made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to fit your family. This is in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge may not have the power to impose similar arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a specific idea might 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 created to promote interaction and a continuous co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a personal and personal procedure which suggests that parties are motivated to be open about options they want to think about. This usually results in parties making ideas they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is also a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court procedures if successful. By setting the agenda and selecting the number of sessions you have, parties have a lot more control over the process than when they are part of court procedures. The mediator will likewise manage the process and make sure that mediation does not continue if it is unproductive or making matters worse.
Family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can offer a vital method of fixing family disputes efficiently and agreeably and it should be something that is motivated all year.