Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historic blog sites, analyze the essential advantages of mediation and other methods of conflict resolution as a method of dealing with the useful arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
Very first call
mediation generally 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 procedure and consider independently with them whether there are any problems which would suggest that mediation is not suitable.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration independently (this is often called a Mediation Info Evaluation Fulfilling (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and discuss a bit more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are private and so the content will not be gone over with the other celebration.
First joint conference
following the private meetings, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is utilized to go through the Contract to Mediate form, handle any interim or pressing concerns and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the concerns the parties wish to cover however this will normally include conversation around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
On the occasion that an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape the pertinent details and choices in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial details as set out in the monetary disclosure offered. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the conversations in mediation and the general decisions 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 parents want to document in regard of the day to day care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not legally binding until the parties have actually had independent legal advice on it. Once this has occurred, one of the party’s lawyers will usually turn the Memorandum of Comprehending 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 procedure, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and the mediator and a party’s own solicitor will think about any issues which might make mediation hard or unsuitable. 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 verify what they wish to cover in mediation. You can address matters important to your own family and those which might not otherwise be relevant in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and place practical to you and the mediator. You select the length of time between sessions and manage its speed. You won’t need to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court procedure, and equally you can guarantee you each have adequate time to collect monetary disclosure and assess suggestions made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to suit your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge might not have the power to enforce similar arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular suggestion may 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 created to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a confidential and personal procedure which implies that parties are encouraged to be open about choices they wish to consider. This typically leads to parties making suggestions they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile clients, it is also a method of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
Mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court procedures if effective. By setting the program and selecting the number of sessions you have, parties have far 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 manage the process and make sure that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can offer an indispensable way of solving family conflicts efficiently and agreeably and it must be something that is motivated all year.