Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation process and, as considered in our historical blog sites, examine the essential advantages of mediation and other techniques of conflict resolution as a way of fixing the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation process
Very first call
mediation typically begins with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk with the parties about the mediation process and think about independently with them whether there are any concerns which would suggest that mediation is not proper.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration separately (this is often called a Mediation Details Evaluation Satisfying (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and discuss a bit more about the mediation process. The initial conferences are personal and so the material will not be discussed with the other party.
First joint conference
following the private conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is utilized to go through the Contract to Moderate form, handle any interim or pushing problems and to set the program for future sessions.
More joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the issues the parties wish to cover but this will normally include conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an expedition of possible monetary settlement.
In the event that an agreement is reached, the mediator can record the appropriate information and decisions in a number of documents called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary details as set out in the financial disclosure offered. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall decisions reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be disclosed in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Plan
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents want to record in respect of the everyday care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding till the parties have had independent legal suggestions on it. When this has taken place, one of the party’s attorneys 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 variety of advantages to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is not right for everybody and a party and the mediator’s own solicitor will think about any problems which may make mediation hard or unsuitable. The advantages 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 validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters crucial to your own family and those which might not otherwise matter in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and location convenient to you and the mediator. You select the length of time between sessions and handle its rate. You will not need to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court process, and similarly you can guarantee you each have adequate time to collect financial disclosure and review suggestions made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be tailored to match your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge may not have the power to enforce similar plans or has actually disliked the subtlety of why a specific tip may 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 developed to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
mediation is a personal and private process which indicates that parties are encouraged to be open about options they want to consider. This typically leads to parties making recommendations they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is likewise a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court procedures if effective. By setting the agenda and selecting the number of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they belong to court procedures. The mediator will also handle the process and ensure that mediation does not continue if it is unproductive or making matters worse.
Although family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can offer an important way of dealing with family disputes effectively and amicably and it ought to be something that is encouraged all year.