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18/08/2017 By: Sara Hanna
A Mediation Information and Assessment meeting (or MIAM) is a first meeting with a mediator that you must attend if you want to make an application to the court regarding either a financial or children issue. The session will be conducted by a Family Mediation Council accredited mediator and the aim of the meeting is to see if mediation can be used as a method for resolve your difficulties, rather than going directly to court. The mediator will be specially trained to assess whether mediation is right for you and your family.
Do I need to attend with my ex-partner?
The other person involved is also expected to attend a MIAM, but they do not have to go to the same meeting as you. You may attend alone.
The mediator will, however, ask you for the other party’s contact details so that they can contact them and ask if they are willing to attend a mediation session with you in order to resolve the dispute between you.
What will happen at the MIAM?
You will discuss how mediation works and consider whether it is an appropriate forum in which to discuss the issues between you and reach an agreement with your ex. The mediator will discuss with you how many sessions they think you need, how much this will cost and will also consider with you other ways of resolving family disputes such as collaborative law.
There are a small number of exemptions which excuse you from attending a MIAM before making an application to court (for example, where there is domestic violence, you are currently involved with Social Services, or you or your ex-partner do not normally live in England and Wales).
What happens after the MIAM?
After the meeting, if you feel that mediation can help you and your ex reach an agreement, you can start mediation sessions straightaway.
If you or the mediator decide that mediation is not suitable for you, then the mediator will sign a form that can be sent to the court to indicate that you have considered mediation. You will then be able to make your application, if that is what you decide to do.
Here at Mills & Reeve, we have a team of family law mediators who are able to help you and your ex reach an agreement in a constructive, flexible and cost-effective way. Alison Bull is also a Family Mediation Council accredited mediator and is able to undertake MIAMs.