Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation process and, as considered in our historic blogs, examine the key advantages of mediation and other methods of conflict resolution as a way of resolving the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation typically begins with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to speak to the parties about the mediation procedure and think about independently with them whether there are any issues which would imply that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party individually (this is frequently called a Mediation Info Assessment Meeting (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and discuss a little bit more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary conferences are private and so the content will not be talked about with the other party.
First joint meeting
following the individual conferences, 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 Arrangement to Moderate kind, handle any interim or pushing problems and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future meetings will depend on the problems the parties want to cover however this will generally include discussion around the arrangements for the children followed by a review of the parties’ financial disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
On the occasion that an arrangement is reached, the mediator can tape the relevant info and decisions in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary info as set out in the financial disclosure supplied. This is an open instead of without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the total decisions reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents wish to document in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding up until the parties have had independent legal suggestions on it. When this has occurred, one of 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 benefits of family mediation
There are a variety of advantages to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everyone and a party and the mediator’s own lawyer will think about any issues which might make mediation inappropriate or hard. The advantages consist of:
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 program and confirm what they wish to cover in mediation. You can address matters essential to your own family and those which may not otherwise be relevant in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and location practical to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time in between sessions and manage its rate. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court process, and equally you can guarantee you each have enough time to collect financial disclosure and assess recommendations made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to match your family. This is in contrast to court enforced decisions where the judge might not have the power to impose similar arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular idea 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 designed to promote interaction and a continuous co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a personal and private procedure which implies that parties are encouraged to be open about options they wish to consider. This usually results in parties making recommendations they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is also a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Expenses and speed
Mediation can be less expensive and quicker than court proceedings if effective. By setting the program and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have a lot more control over the process than when they are part of court proceedings. The mediator will also guarantee 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 offer an important way of solving family conflicts efficiently and amicably and it ought to be something that is motivated all year.