Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog site we sum up the mediation procedure and, as considered in our historic blogs, examine the crucial benefits of mediation and other techniques of conflict resolution as a method of fixing the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation typically begins with the mediator having a brief preliminary call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation process and consider separately with them whether there are any issues which would indicate that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each party independently (this is often called a Mediation Details Assessment Fulfilling (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and explain a little bit more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are confidential therefore the content will not be discussed with the other party.
First joint meeting
following the private meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The very first meeting is used to go through the Arrangement to Mediate type, deal with any interim or pressing issues and to set the program for future sessions.
More joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend on the problems the parties wish to cover however this will typically involve discussion 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 the relevant information and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary details as set out in the monetary disclosure supplied. This is an open instead of without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
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 arrangements for the children and any other matters moms and dads want to record in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not legally binding until the parties have had independent legal suggestions on it. Once this has taken place, among the party’s lawyers will typically 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 benefits to the mediation process, a few of which are set out listed below. Mediation is wrong for everybody and a party and the mediator’s own lawyer will think about any concerns which might make mediation unsuitable or tough. 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 confirm what they wish to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters important to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and place hassle-free to you and the mediator. You select the length of time in between sessions and handle its speed. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court process, and similarly you can guarantee you each have enough time to look at financial disclosure and assess recommendations made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to suit your family. This remains 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 recommendation 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 designed to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and confidential process which implies that parties are encouraged to be open about choices they want to consider. This normally results in parties making suggestions they would hesitate 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.
- Costs and speed
if successful, mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the agenda and choosing the number of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they become part of court proceedings. If it is unproductive or making matters worse, the mediator will also guarantee and manage the procedure that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has actually remained in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in suitable cases it can provide an invaluable way of fixing family conflicts efficiently and agreeably and it should be something that is motivated all year.