Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as considered in our historical blogs, examine the essential advantages of mediation and other approaches of conflict resolution as a method of fixing the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation usually begins with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation procedure and think about independently with them whether there are any problems which would indicate that mediation is not suitable.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party separately (this is frequently called a Mediation Info Evaluation Satisfying (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and discuss a little more about the mediation process. The initial conferences are private and so the material will not be gone over with the other party.
First joint meeting
following the specific meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is used to go through the Agreement to Moderate kind, deal with any interim or pushing issues and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend on the concerns the parties wish to cover however this will normally involve discussion around the plans for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
In case an arrangement is reached, the mediator can record the pertinent information and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ financial details as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall decisions reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be divulged in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans 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 till the parties have actually had independent legal suggestions on it. When this has happened, among 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 variety of advantages to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is not right for everyone and the mediator and a party’s own lawyer will think about any issues which may make mediation inappropriate or difficult. 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 agenda and validate what they wish to cover in mediation. You can address matters important to your own family and those which might 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 handle its pace. You will not 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 collect financial disclosure and review tips made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to fit your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge might not have the power to impose similar plans or has actually not appreciated the subtlety of why a particular idea might be much better.
a mediator’s function is to help with a discussion in between the parties and motivate recommendations about the result. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and adhere to it. Mediation is created to promote interaction and a continuous 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.
mediation is a personal and confidential process which implies that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they wish to consider. This typically leads to parties making suggestions they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile customers, it is also a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Costs and speed
Mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court procedures if successful. By setting the program and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have a lot more control over the procedure than when they are part of court procedures. The mediator will likewise ensure and manage the procedure 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 way of dealing with family conflicts effectively and amicably and it need to be something that is encouraged all year.