Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog site we sum up the mediation process and, as thought about in our historic blogs, take a look at the essential advantages of mediation and other methods of conflict resolution as a method of resolving the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation generally begins with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation procedure and think about individually with them whether there are any concerns which would imply that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each party independently (this is frequently called a Mediation Info Evaluation Fulfilling (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and describe a bit more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary conferences are private therefore the content will not be talked about with the other party.
following the individual meetings, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is used to go through the Arrangement to Moderate form, deal with any interim or pushing problems and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend on the concerns the parties want to cover however this will generally involve conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible monetary settlement.
On the occasion that an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the pertinent information and choices in a number of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary information as set out in the monetary disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the discussions in mediation and the total choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents want to document in respect of the everyday care of their children.
Any contract reached in mediation is not lawfully binding until the parties have had independent legal guidance on it. When this has happened, one of the party’s legal representatives will typically 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 benefits to the mediation process, a few 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 problems which might make mediation inappropriate or hard. The benefits consist of:
- The mediator will encourage the parties to set the agenda and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can address matters crucial to your own family and those which may not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and place convenient to you and the mediator. You select the length of time in between sessions and manage its rate. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court process, and equally you can guarantee you each have adequate time to look at financial disclosure and reflect on tips made.
- Decisions 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 actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a particular tip might be much better.
a mediator’s role is to help with a discussion between the parties and encourage suggestions about the result. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stay with it. Mediation is designed to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship. This is particularly crucial for moms and dads who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
mediation is a private and private procedure which suggests that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they want to consider. This usually leads to parties making ideas they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. 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 less expensive and quicker than court procedures. By setting the agenda and selecting the number of sessions you have, parties have a lot more control over the procedure than when they are part of court proceedings. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will likewise ensure and manage the process that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has been in focus today with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can provide an important method of solving family disputes efficiently and agreeably and it ought to be something that is motivated all year.