Understanding Family Mediation
Solutions for Separating Families
1. First Meeting. The parties meet with the Mediator in an individual session called the MIAMS “Meeting Information and Assessment Meeting" which talks about the process and to reflect on their goals for a resolution. The Mediator never provides legal advice to either party, but may serve to educate the parties about the legal process.
2. Exchange Information. Each party to a family law action is required by statute to disclose certain information to the other party. After the parties have met their statutory disclosure requirements, the Mediator will facilitate the informal exchange of any additional information to the satisfaction of each party.
3. Neutral Experts. In some cases, the parties will require the opinion of neutral experts before they are prepared to enter into a settlement. Such experts could include estate agents, forensic accountants, business valuators, or other experts.
4. Negotiation. Once the parties have sufficiently exchanged information, they are ready to negotiate a settlement. The length and number of sessions required to complete a successful mediation varies greatly depending on the parties and the complexity of the issues.
5. Statement of Outcome. If a mediation session concludes without a settlement, the Mediator will generally provide the parties with a confidential and non-binding Statement of Outcome or Open Financial Statement.
6. Independent Review. If the parties reach tentative agreements in mediation, the terms will be memorialised in writing. Once an agreement is reached, parties are strongly encouraged to have the agreement reviewed by independent Solicitors.
7. Put It In Writing/ Memorandum of Understanding. After the parties have had an opportunity to review their agreement with independent Solicitors, the Mediator will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding, for the Solicitors to prepare a Consent Order for filing with the court.