Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog site we summarise the mediation process and, as thought about in our historical blog sites, examine the essential advantages of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution as a way of dealing with the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation normally begins with the mediator having a short 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 issues which would suggest that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration separately (this is typically called a Mediation Information Evaluation Satisfying (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and explain a little bit more about the mediation procedure. The initial conferences are confidential and so the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
following the individual 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 Agreement to Mediate form, deal with any interim or pressing problems and to set the agenda for future sessions.
More joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend on the problems the parties wish to cover however this will generally involve conversation 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 arrangement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the relevant details and choices in a variety of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial information as set out in the financial disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be revealed in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters moms and dads wish to record in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding until the parties have actually had independent legal guidance on it. Once this has occurred, among the celebration’s attorneys 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 advantages to the mediation process, a few of which are set out listed below. Mediation is not right for everyone and a party and the mediator’s own lawyer will think about any issues which may make mediation unsuitable or challenging. 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 agenda and confirm what they want to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters essential to your own family and those which may not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- 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 need to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court procedure, and similarly you can ensure you each have adequate time to look at financial disclosure and reflect on suggestions made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be tailored to fit your family. This is in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge might not have the power to impose similar arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular idea might be much better.
When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more most likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is designed to promote interaction and a continuous co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a personal and personal process which means that parties are encouraged to be open about choices they want to think about. This normally leads to parties making ideas they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile customers, it is likewise a way of keeping details of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Expenses and speed
if effective, mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court procedures. By setting the agenda and picking the number of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the process than when they belong to court procedures. The mediator will likewise ensure and handle the process that mediation does not continue if it is unproductive or making matters worse.
Family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can supply an important method of dealing with family disputes successfully and agreeably and it need to be something that is encouraged all year.