‘MIAM’ stands for Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. It is a meeting where a mediator will provide you with information on mediation and discuss with you whether mediation or another form of family dispute resolution is suitable for you given your particular circumstances.
If you are in dispute with your ex or a family member, or you are having difficulties sorting issues surrounding your separation or divorce, you may be considering making a court application. But before an application can be made to court for private law children proceedings or financial remedy on divorce you the applicant are required to attend a MIAM. There are some exemptions but for most people it is a required step.
If you want to make a court application it is in most cases a legal requirement to attend a MIAM. However you will not be expected to attend a MIAM if any of the following apply to your situation:
Child protection concerns
Previous MIAM attendance within 4 months of application
Other (some examples include: if a party to the proceedings is bankrupt, if there are no contact details to locate the other party and if one party is in prison.)
There may of course be other particular exemptions that apply to you. Before going to court, the application form has to be
completed and the form sets out all the possible exemptions.
If you are not sure or have any questions about the exemptions please contact us on 01670 528441.
The mediation process begins with a referral. We then arrange an individual MIAM for you. We can arrange joint MIAMs and would always ask you if you wish to attend this appointment together but in our experience the process works best if you have the appointment to yourself. At this stage we would also write out to the other party to invite them to attend a separate MIAM.
So what happens at a MIAM?
The mediator will
give you lots of information about the mediation process and the alternatives,
signpost you to alternative services that may be helpful such as the Department for Work and Pensions, Citizens Advice Bureau, Housing and Domestic Abuse organisations to name but a few,
also ask lots of questions about the circumstances in order to assess suitability,
discuss how many sessions you may need and how much they would cost
also conduct a Legal Aid assessment if requested.
The meeting usually lasts around 45 minutes to an hour. It is entirely confidential, subject to certain exceptions such as child protection but we would not be sharing anything discussed in the meeting with the other party.
How much does it cost?
Legal Aid is available for family mediation. If you are eligible there is no charge for MIAM nor any subsequent mediation sessions.
If you so request the mediator will assess your eligibility without charge at the start of the MIAM and if you are not eligible you do not have to proceed with the meeting if you do not want to.
If the other party is eligible for Legal Aid, the Legal Aid Agency will pay for the MIAM for both of you.
What happens after my MIAM?
Once you have attended your MIAM if we have not heard from the other party and we have contact information for them we will call them to follow up on their letter and discuss any questions they may have about mediation and if they wish to attend an appointment. If they do we would organise this appointment.
Once you have both attended a MIAM, if you are both willing and if mediation is suitable you would attend a mediation session together to discuss the issues they need to sort out.
What if my ex won’t attend?
When we write to the other party we ask them to let us know if they wish to attend an appointment with two weeks of writing to them. If we have not engaged with them within this time period we will presume they do not wish to proceed and will let you know. If they do not wish to attend an appointment we will let you know this straight away. We urge clients to avoid delays.
If mediation isn’t suitable you will be assisted to look at other options. If you decide to make a court application the mediator can sign the relevant page of the application form to enable you to file the court application.
If you wish to attend a MIAM or have any questions, please call us on 01670 528441 or contact us through our website.