Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings - MIAMsFAQs
What is a MIAM?
The law requires anyone (with a few exceptions) wishing to make an application to the family court for a child, financial or property order to have a MIAM first. They will not be allowed to lodge their papers at court if they haven’t had one.
The point of the MIAM is to explore whether mediation might be a more suitable way of dealing with the problem or dispute than court.
Can I go to a solicitor for a MIAM?
Why were MIAMs introduced?
Courts cannot address the underlying conflicts that drive people so often to the family courts. Mediation can.
What happens at a MIAM?
If you are not willing to mediate, you do not have to. You can ask the mediator for a certificate showing that you have attended a MIAM. The certificate will allow you to make a court application
On the other hand, if you would like to try mediation, you can ask the mediator to make contact with your ex inviting them to a similar meeting. If your ex attends a MIAM also, and wants to mediate, the mediator will make arrangements with you both to start the process.
If your ex is unwilling to meet for a MIAM, or attends a MIAM but is unwilling to mediate, you can ask the mediator for a certificate showing that you have attended a MIAM.
Are MIAMs confidential?
Can I have a MIAM over the phone or online through Skype video?
FMC standards DO NOT allow MIAMs to be held over the phone.
FMC standards DO allow MIAMs to be held over online video, such as Skype.
However, legal aid is NOT available at present for online MIAMs.
Will mediators disclose their reasons if they assess mediation as unsuitable at a MIAM?
What if I know my ex is unwilling to attend their own MIAM or is not willing to mediate? Do I still need to have one?
What's the point of attending a MIAM if I know I don't want to mediate?
Few understand how mediation really works. Courts are expensive for the state to run. People who use them in family related matters are often severely affected by the way the process pits them against each other. Children are likely to be significantly affected by parents fighting things out in court involved
Because mediation tends to lead to quicker, less costly and longer lasting outcomes, the state is keen to encourage mediation where it is suitable. That’s why everyone must attend a MIAM.
Who is exempt from having a MIAM?
- You, or the other party, has made an allegation of domestic violence against the other supported by clear evidence, for example either a police investigation or an injunction being issued within the last 12 months. It is not enough simply to claim that there has been abuse or violence.
- The application you want to make to the court relates to other family law matters which you are currently involved in.
- An application to the court needs to be made urgently because there is a risk to the life or safety of the person who is making the application (the applicant) or their family (for example, their children) or their home.
- The dispute is about money and you or your husband, wife or civil partner (the respondent) is bankrupt.
- You and your husband, wife or civil partner are in agreement and there is no dispute.
- You do not know where your husband, wife or civil partner is.
- You wish to make an application to the court but for certain reasons you don’t want to tell your husband, wife or civil partner in advance. You should check these reasons with a lawyer. Simply wanting to cause surprise, for example, will not be acceptable.
- You are currently involved with social services because there are concerns about the safety and wellbeing of your child or children.
- You can’t find a mediator within 15 miles of where you live, or you have contacted three mediators based within 15 miles of where you live and you are unable to get an appointment with any of them within 15 working days.
- You or your partner cannot access a mediator’s office because one of you has a disability. However, if the authorised mediator can provide the appropriate facilities then you will both still be required to attend the meeting.
- A mediator shows on the court form that mediation isn’t suitable, for example the other person has made it clear in advance that they are not willing to attend a MIAM.
- In the past four months you’ve tried mediation but it hasn’t been successful. A mediator has to confirm this and state that mediation is not the best way for you to resolve your dispute.
- You or your partner do not normally live in either England or Wales and therefore cannot be considered as habitually resident.
How much does a MIAM cost?
We price our MIAM service at £120. Our charges are not subject to VAT. This is what is included.
- A 15 minute confidential chat on the phone to one of our accredited mediators.
- Sending you an email (or letter) with a link to an online information form to complete.
- When we have received your completed form, we get in touch to arrange your appointment.
- We will send you written confirmation of your appointment time and date.
- Sending you a text message appointment reminder at least 24 hours in advance.
- Preparing for your appointment by reading your completed information form.
- Meeting you for a 60 minute confidential meeting.
- If you want us to, we will write to your ex by post inviting them to attend their own MIAM with us.
- If your ex does not get in touch, phoning them to check that they received our message.
- If your ex makes a MIAM appointment, we will let you know and will contact you both afterwards to confirm whether or not we have assessed your case as suitable.
- If your ex does not wish to make an appointment for a MIAM or if we assess your case as unsuitable for mediation, we will let you know.
- If mediation is not going ahead, we will send you a mediator’s certificate. This confirms that you attended a MIAM. This will enable you to make a court application within the following four month period. If your ex attended a MIAM too, we will send them a certificate as well.
- If, despite sending out certificates, you and your ex subsequently decide that you wish to mediate, we will probably be able to help providing we didn’t assess mediation as potentially unsafe.
Is legal aid available for MIAMs?
If you do not qualify for legal aid,most mediators will charge for a MIAM.
Do I need a MIAM before I lodge my divorce or civil partnership dissolution paperwork at court?
However, as experienced mediators we recommend that those wanting to end a relationship get the help of a mediator if they are not in complete agreement with their partner about what steps to take. Mediators help people understand their legal options and can prevent a simple difference of opinion from turning into a major disagreement.
Why can't solicitors conduct MIAMs?
Also, the state would prefer more people to use mediation to resolve their disputes. Research shows that mediation outcomes are longer lasting, are reached more quickly and are much less expensive than involving lawyers.
Most law firms rely on a business model which means that it will earn far more income from each client if the dispute goes to court than it would if it was resolved with the help of mediation. This may lead the government to believe that if solicitors were authorised to conduct MIAMs, the goal of fewer people using the courts could not met.
Will having a MIAM hold up my court application?
If your situation is not exempt, you should be able to arrange a MIAM at fairly short notice. You may need to be flexible with your availability. We can usually see people within 24 hours if needed.
Can my partner and I have a MIAM together?
They will also take longer than an ordinary MIAM. We like to plan f0r 90 to 120 minutes.
We start by seeing both people together for 5 to 10 minutes. Then we see each of them separately for up to 30 to 45 minutes each. Finally, we see them together for a further 15 to 20 minutes.
We charge each person £90 for a joint MIAM. See the FAQ above about the cost of a MIAM for more details of what is included in the price.
Is a MIAM the same as mediation?
MIAMs are a preliminary step before mediation can take place. mediation only starts when the parties have signed an Agreement to Mediate.
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