If you’ve done any research about family mediation then you will probably have heard about the MIAM. Judges, lawyers and mediators talk about MIAMs – but what are they?
The Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is the first meeting you will have with a mediator. It will usually just be between you and the mediator and will last around 45 minutes. If you want to, you can bring a friend or family member for support. The other person will be invited to attend a separate MIAM.
If you want to make an application to the court in a family case, in most circumstances (unless, for example your situation involves domestic violence or abuse), you are required to attend a MIAM, to consider whether mediation can help you, before you can issue your application. If you just want to explore whether mediation is right for you, attending a MIAM is a really good place to start.
At the MIAM, the mediator will hear from you about your circumstances and will discuss what options are available to you. The mediator will explain mediation (what it is and how the process works) and other ways to resolve family disputes without going to court. You will be given an opportunity to ask any questions you have and the mediator will help you to consider whether mediation is right and safe for you and will identify when mediation will or will not be suitable.
If everyone agrees to try mediation and the mediator considers that is appropriate, then a first joint mediation session will be arranged. Where mediation is unsuitable, the mediator will make sure you know the alternatives to mediation and will signpost you to appropriate sources of advice and support. If mediation is not suitable for whatever reason, the mediator will supply you with a form confirming that you have attended a MIAM. You will be able to use the form to apply to the Court if that’s what you decide to do.