Informational and assessment Mediation Meetings (MIAMs)
If you choose to file a lawsuit, you must (in the majority of instances) attend a Divorce mediation information and assessment meeting (often called a MIAM). The other party is anticipated to attend a meeting, but they are not required to attend the same meeting as you.
What are MIAMs?
Meeting for Mediation Information and Assessment
This is the initial consultation with a highly trained family mediator to determine whether your concerns may be handled outside of court. The mediator will advise you of the different choices for out-of-court resolution, including divorce mediation, and explore the benefits and drawbacks with you. The meeting is held in confidence.
Who can do a MIAM?
The mediator must be certified by the Family Mediation Council (FMC), and you can seek for one here. We can help with divorce mediation
Where does the MIAM occur?
Your MIAM will take place at the mediator’s office or at an agreed-upon location. If that’s the ideal way to hold the meeting, they can also be conducted over online video, such as Skype.
When I am required to attend the MIAM?
Unless one of the exceptions applies to your case, you must attend an MIAM prior to filing a petition with the family court. These consist of:
Domestic Violence (you must meet specific requirements); Child Protection Concerns; Urgency; and Previous attendance at an MIAM or MIAM exemption.
The Family Mediation Council gives more information regarding situations in which attendance at an MIAM is not required.
Who will be in attendance?
You can attend the MIAM by yourself or with your partner if you both agree to do so. The majority of couples elect to hold separate meetings. If you have a meeting, the mediator will at some time speak to each party separately to ensure that you are comfortable with the process and to determine whether there are any issues of violence or abuse.
What takes place at the MIAM?
During the conference, your mediator will:
Provide information on divorce mediation and other types of conflict resolution, such as arbitration and the collaborative approach.
Evaluate the suitability of divorce mediation for resolving the conflict.
Assess whether domestic violence or injury to a child has occurred or is imminent.
Refer you to any necessary support, such as online information sources on separation-related issues.
What occurs following the MIAM?
If you and your spouse agree to explore mediation, you can schedule your initial divorce mediation session.
If you decide not to proceed with mediation or if it is unsuitable, the mediator must sign the appropriate court document to indicate that you considered divorce mediation. This will allow you to file your petition with the court.
What’s the price of an MIAM?
If you qualify for legal aid, the MIAM will be provided at no cost. Your mediator will be able to discuss your eligibility for legal help.
The mediator determines the cost of the MIAM, and some mediators may provide it for free. You should inquire about the mediator’s fees before scheduling a meeting.
Why should I attend a MIAM?
In April 2011, the Ministry of Justice made attendance at an MIAM a prerequisite for submitting an application to the court for a parenting or financial order in a family dispute.
Applicants routinely disregarded this requirement, so in April 2014, under section 10(1) of the Children and Families Act 2014, the Ministry of Justice made it obligatory to attend an MIAM in order to submit an application to the court regarding a parenting, financial, or property-related family matter.
In most circumstances, the major reason for attending an MIAM is that attendance is required.
Why is this so? The courts were being overwhelmed with matters that could have, and in many instances should have, been resolved outside of court.
According to a number of family law practitioners, the court is not always the appropriate venue for resolving conflicts, particularly when there are ramifications for the larger family and the parties’ continued connection. The court recognised that parents would need to work together, maybe for many years, and that returning to court any time they wanted to adjust a pick-up arrangement or take a vacation abroad was not an ideal way to live your lives in the future.
The only legal requirement is to consider mediation through an MIAM; participation in mediation is optional.
Call Family Mediation Service for more information