A step-by-step guide to family mediation
Embarking on the journey of family mediation can be a challenging yet constructive path towards resolving disputes. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll navigate the process, from selecting a mediator to reaching a final agreement.
1. Choosing the Right Mediator:
When choosing a mediator, factors such as location, online mediation availability, and recommendations from solicitors or acquaintances should be considered. Explore FMC accredited mediators Find your local mediator – Family Mediation Council to make an informed decision.
2. Mediation Information & Assessment Meetings (MIAMs):
Both parties participate in separate confidential sessions with the mediator. During these sessions, ground rules and the mediation process are explained, empowering participants to make informed decisions about the best way to proceed.
3. The First Joint Meeting:
Scheduled after MIAMs if both parties agree to proceed, this meeting offers flexibility in format (in-person or online) and structure. Typically lasting 90 minutes to 2 hours on a “without prejudice” basis, the mediator assists in setting an agenda, particularly regarding financial matters, guiding the preparation of an asset schedule.
4. Future Meetings:
Flexibility in the number, duration, and timing of meetings characterises family mediation. Discussions revolve around child arrangements and financial settlements. The mediator facilitates conversations, provides legal information, and may involve professionals like solicitors or financial advisors when necessary.
5. Preparation of Summary Documents:
The mediator prepares summary documents, including an Open Financial Summary outlining factual financial information and a Memorandum of Understanding detailing the agreed-upon proposals.
6. Meeting with Solicitor:
Parties meet with their solicitors outside mediation to seek advice on the agreement, utilising the provided summary documents.
7. Agreement Assessment:
In the case of both parties in agreement, solicitors prepare formal documents, potentially applying to court for endorsement (e.g., Financial Remedy Consent Order). If no agreement is reached, parties can return to mediation for further discussion. If resolution remains elusive, the mediator can assist in deciding the next steps, such as arbitration or court proceedings.
Family mediation, with its dynamic and tailored approach, paves the way for resolution. The guidance of a skilled mediator, such as Richard Buckley at Lupton Fawcett, ensures that all parties have a voice in shaping agreements that define their future.
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