- 28 September 2020
A mediation information and assessment meeting (often called a MIAM) is a meeting with a specially qualified family mediator the aim of which is:
Every client who expresses an interest in mediation begins the process with an information and assessment meeting. In addition, since 22 April 2014, almost all divorcing and separating couples in England and Wales who want to use the court process to resolve any disagreements about children or money must prove that they have made a referral for a MIAM first. You cannot issue an application at court without either (a) a record of a MIAM referral having been made or (b) claiming one of the specific exemptions explained in the form.
If there has been a referral for a MIAM, the mediator has to sign the court application form. The court will check whether any other exemption is validly claimed and will usually require that you attend a MIAM if no exemption in fact applies. A judge may also choose not to hear a case until both people have shown that they have considered mediation. This means that, even if you are quite sure that mediation or one of the other alternatives to court is not for you, attending a MIAM will help you avoid unnecessary delays whether you are the person who is applying to the court, or the other person. Far more positively, the meeting gives you a chance to decide, with professional assistance, how best to conduct your separation or divorce in the interests of yourself and your family.
Your meeting will be conducted by a mediator authorised by the Family Mediation Council to conduct MIAMs and to sign the relevant court application form confirming that a MIAM has taken place. If, at the end of the process (including any meeting with your former partner) either you or the mediator decides that mediation is not a good way forward, you can ask the mediator to sign your court application form.
It is usual for these meetings to be conducted on an entirely separate basis but, even if you elect for a joint assessment meeting (if offered by the mediator), there will be a separate, private session with you for part of the meeting. This will involve you and the mediator discussing your personal situation on a confidential basis without your former partner in the room. Any information you give the mediator during this stage or in a separate meeting will be kept confidential and will not be shared with your former partner or anyone else except for any specific matters that you agree with the mediator can be shared. There are however some important exceptions to the mediator’s duty of confidentiality and these are listed in the section below.
During the meeting the mediator will provide information about the options available to you to resolve the issues around your separation and will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of each option. The mediator will also ask you questions and make an assessment to decide whether or not mediation might be a suitable way forward for your family in your own particular circumstances.
- 28 September 2020
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