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Divorce law blog

Don’t be scared of the MIAM!

25/01/2018   By: Andrew Moore

“MIAM” stands for mediation information assessment meeting.  Contrary to its name, it’s an opportunity for those contemplating court action to learn about all of the non-court dispute resolution approaches, not just mediation, in a bid to avoid expensive and confrontational litigation which does little to support separating families.  You can read more about what happens at a MIAM here

The number of people attending a MIAM is not high despite it being a compulsory requirement under court rules.  Why is this?  Some reasons might be:

  • The lack of legal aid means fewer people have access to legal advice and are not being signposted to mediation as they once were.  This is ironic given legal aid is still available for mediation and the MIAM is free where at least one person meets the financial criteria for legal aid. 
  • Do people really understand what a MIAM is?  Its name is not exactly transparent! 
  • Are people pre-judging how effective non-court dispute resolution is without finding out more?   You can be exempted from a MIAM but anecdotal evidence suggests the exemptions might be being abused. 
  • Are the courts doing enough to consider non-court dispute resolution at every stage?  The court has the power to pause proceedings for a period of time to allow parties to find out more about and participate in non-court dispute resolution but this does not always happen. 

If you are thinking about starting court proceedings (or at the receiving end of an application brought by your ex), don’t be scared of attending a MIAM.  All non-court dispute resolution approaches are voluntary, so attendance will not mean you will be forced to mediate or prevent you from starting court proceedings at a later date.  MIAMs can be arranged quickly and can even be undertaken by Skype or FaceTime!

Want to know more? Speak to one of our solicitors, or book a MIAM!

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