How does Family Mediation work in practice.
Family Mediation is assisted negotiation wherein the Mediator is a neutral third party who will neither take sides nor give legal advice – s/he will endeavour to guide and facilitate the parties in coming to their own agreement. Family Mediation is structured but flexible and not overly formal; it is voluntary and there are no sanctions in the event of an agreement not being concluded; it is totally confidential. The process that all mediators at Mediate Ireland use is to have a short joint session with both parties and advisors together in a room. The purpose of this is to set out the ground rules and let each party give a short opening statement. Then the majority of the rest of the family mediation is carried out with the parties in separate rooms, in private & confidential discussions with the mediator. Only if agreement is reached or the mediator feels that a joint meeting between all parties will help towards settlement of the dispute will the parties meet face to face.
The Mediator will always be acutely conscious of assisting separating parties to work together as parents after the separation/divorce.
At Mediate Ireland we feel that it is important that a separating couple have their own independent legal advice before, during and after the mediation. This is very different from other family mediation services providers who specifically exclude lawyers from taking an active role in the family mediation. A family mediated agreement will usually involve technical arrangements to be drawn up and/or entered into thereafter – to give full legal effect to the couple’s own agreement. Whilst we provide services directly to the parties we strongly recommend, that they have Solicitors and/or Counsel with them, or immediately available to them, for the mediation process. The solicitors will understand the parties’ own agreement far better if they are present or involved when it is reached – rather than being presented with it later on.
By definition there will be compromise but this will never be forced on participants and will only emerge through the processes in a context of fairness recognized and accepted by the parties and in which neither feels that their needs were ignored – both can accept and so both can move on. Traditionally we view compromise as “middle ground” which may not necessarily be the best ground and which often discounts initial suggestions without reflection upon which of those were more thoughtful, reasonable or fair – thus it can often reward unreasonable initial positions and punish reasonable offers; we often “set out our stall” by reference to how far we will be prepared to move, we know that the other side will do similarly; sometimes we push our clients to propose positions that are unreasonable so that we will have “room to manoeuvre” – this exacerbates mistrust when mistrust is already at a low point and slows down the process. Thus compromise in Family Mediation can only be achieved by the full satisfaction and acceptance thereof by both of the parties rather than the arrival at a middle ground by reference to false starting positions
Family Mediation helps the parties to focus on what is truly important to them and what is not. The parties are in conflict, ergo they are fearful at some level and their minds are filled with a mixture of anger, resentment, fear, doubt and regret. The family mediation process will enable and allow the thorough exploration of the needs of both parties through listening, restating, generating alternatives and other options, evaluating these and beginning the process of agreement.
With Mediate Ireland, family mediation is structured but not too formal; it is empathic but it is not counselling; it leads to enforceable agreements and agreements as to how to proceed to court where appropriate; it facilitates the parties in coming to settlement terms but it never imposes them; it is voluntary and confidential; it is fast, efficient and cost-effective; it seeks to promote future relationships between parties and their children; it can be immensely satisfying for both clients and practitioners.
If you have a client or know someone who may benefit from the Mediation Services that we provide please contact, Mark Small on 087-2268394 to discuss your requirements or organize a mediation.
For more information on our mediation services CLICK HERE
Mediation Advocacy Training
Mediate Ireland provides training programs to anybody involved in the Mediation Process. One of our most popular programs is “An introduction to Mediation Advocacy”, which is specifically for professionals who represent their clients at a mediation. This is a afternoon program (6 CPD hrs are available) which runs regularly throughout the year.
For more information on our training programs CLICK HERE