Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as considered in our historic blog sites, take a look at the essential advantages of mediation and other approaches of dispute resolution as a method of dealing with the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
Very first call
mediation normally begins with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to speak with the parties about the mediation process and consider individually with them whether there are any issues which would imply that mediation is not proper.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration independently (this is typically called a Mediation Details Assessment Fulfilling (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and explain a little bit more about the mediation process. The initial meetings are confidential and so the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
following the private meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is utilized to go through the Contract to Moderate kind, handle any interim or pushing problems and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the concerns the parties wish to cover however this will usually involve discussion around the plans for the children followed by a review of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible financial settlement.
In the event that an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape the relevant info and choices 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 decisions 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 parents want to document in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding up until the parties have actually had independent legal advice on it. When this has happened, one of the party’s legal representatives will normally 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 procedure, some of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and a celebration and the mediator’s own lawyer will think about any concerns which might make mediation difficult or inappropriate. 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 motivate the parties to set the program and confirm what they wish to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters essential to your own family and those which may not otherwise matter in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and place convenient to you and the mediator. You select the length of time between sessions and manage its speed. You will not have to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court procedure, and similarly you can guarantee you each have adequate time to collate financial disclosure and reflect on suggestions made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to suit your family. This remains in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge might not have the power to enforce similar plans or has actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific recommendation might be better.
a mediator’s role is to assist in a dialogue between the parties and encourage ideas about the result. When a choice 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. This is especially essential for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
mediation is a personal and private procedure which indicates that parties are motivated to be open about options they wish to consider. This usually leads to parties making tips they would hesitate to make in court procedures. For high profile clients, it is also a way of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Expenses and speed
if successful, mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the agenda and selecting the number of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the procedure than when they are part of court proceedings. The mediator will also handle the procedure and guarantee that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Although family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can supply an important way of resolving family disagreements successfully and amicably and it must be something that is motivated all year.