Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historic blogs, take a look at the crucial benefits of mediation and other approaches of dispute resolution as a way of dealing with the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation typically begins with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to speak with the parties about the mediation procedure and think about separately with them whether there are any concerns which would suggest that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration individually (this is often called a Mediation Information Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and discuss a little more about the mediation procedure. The initial meetings are confidential and so the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
following the private conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is used to go through the Contract to Moderate type, deal with any interim or pushing issues and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint meetings
the focus of future meetings will depend upon the concerns the parties want to cover however this will normally involve conversation around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
In case an arrangement is reached, the mediator can tape the relevant details and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ financial details as set out in the monetary disclosure supplied. This is an open instead of without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Plan
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents want to document in respect of the day to day care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not legally binding up until the parties have had independent legal recommendations on it. As soon as this has occurred, among the celebration’s legal representatives will typically turn the Memorandum of Comprehending into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The advantages of family mediation
There are a number of advantages to the mediation process, a few of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and a celebration and the mediator’s own lawyer will think about any problems which may make mediation tough or inappropriate. The advantages consist of:
- The mediator will encourage the parties to set the program and verify what they want to cover in mediation. You can attend to matters important to your own family and those which may not otherwise be relevant in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and place practical 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 occur in a court procedure, and similarly you can ensure you each have adequate time to collate monetary disclosure and review 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 impose similar plans or has not appreciated the subtlety of why a specific idea might be much better.
When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more 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 private and personal process which means that parties are motivated to be open about choices they wish to think about. This typically results in parties making suggestions they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile customers, it is likewise a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if effective, mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the program and selecting the number of sessions you have, parties have a lot more control over the process than when they are part of court procedures. The mediator will also handle the procedure and ensure that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Although family mediation has actually remained in focus today with #FamilyMediationweek, in suitable cases it can supply an indispensable way of resolving family conflicts effectively and agreeably and it must be something that is motivated all year.