Mediation Information And Assessment Meetings (MIAM)
Who should attend a MIAM?
Anyone thinking about using mediation as a way of resolving disputes following a relationship breakdown, separation or divorce would benefit from attending a MIAM.
If you are considering making an application to Court in respect of a financial dispute or arrangements for your children it is a requirement that you attend a MIAM before making your application. There are a number of exemptions to this that the mediator, your solicitor or the Court can explain in more detail. This requirement which has been in place since April 2011, follows changes that have been brought in by something known as the Pre Application Protocol.
What happens in a MIAM?
The mediator will explain to you in detail how mediation works and how it might be able to assist in your particular circumstances. Other dispute resolution options will also be considered, such as collaborative law or arbitration. Mediation is voluntary so it is important that you understand how it can help before you decide whether to proceed with mediation. You will be asked to provide enough information that will enable an assessment to be made as to whether mediation is suitable in your circumstances. This assessment is generally made once you have both been seen. In some cases it might be more suitable for you to use one of the other dispute resolution options such as solicitor negotiation or the Court, in which case this will be discussed with you.
What happens next?
If you are the person wishing to make an application to Court and require the mediator to sign your court form, you may wish to ask the mediator to contact your former partner (or other family member) first so that they can be invited to attend a MIAM. If they are not willing to attend a MIAM at all, or discuss mediation, you would not need to attend the meeting in person, but can request the mediator to sign the form on that basis.
If you attend the MIAM first and then wish to attend mediation, the mediator will then contact your former partner and invite them to a similar information and assessment meeting. If you do not wish to attend mediation or it is unsuitable in your circumstances then you will be provided with a signed FM1 which will enable you to proceed to Court should you wish to do so.
If you both wish to attend mediation, a first meeting will be arranged on a date and time to suit you both.
What are the costs?
You will be assessed for free mediation. If you are eligible for free mediation, you will be referred to a legal aid mediation practice. If you are not eligible for free mediation the assessment meeting is £70 (not subject to VAT). The provision of the relevant court form is £40 (not subject to VAT)