Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
Although mediation is a voluntary choice, since April 2014 most people engaged in family court proceedings are required to attend an initial meeting (a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting sometimes referred to as a ‘MIAM’) to find out about the ways in which it is possible to sort things out away from the courtroom, including whether mediation is suitable for them.
If you decide not to mediate, this stage is necessary if you want to go to court, as the court will expect a certificate from the mediator before you start proceedings.
After the initial meeting, mediation between separating couples can work in several ways:
Both parties attend the same mediation session with the same mediator. We recommend joint mediation where possible as it is the most cost effective solution and normally produces the quickest resolution.
When communication has broken down, both parties attend a mediation session at the same time but sit in separate rooms with the mediator ‘shuttling’ between them.
Both parties attend mediation sessions with two mediators being present.
We will discuss the format of the mediation meetings with you to ensure that you are happy to proceed.
Sessions are 1 hour and 30 minutes long and it is common to have three to five sessions. Matters only involving children can sometimes be resolved in two to three sessions. Matters involving finances (with or without children) will usually take three to five sessions depending on complexity and what the issues are between you.
The frequency of appointments is for you to decide and depends on the time you both need between sessions to think, look at options and obtain further information.
At the end of the mediation process you will be given a document setting out your proposals and a copy of your financial disclosure (if appropriate). You may then take these to a solicitor to put the proposals into a legal and binding format such as a Consent Order. You can always have the option to return to mediation at any time in the future.
How long will it take?
- Mediation for child arrangements usually requires one or two session
- Finance and property mediation usually requires two to three sessions
- All Issues mediation (finance, property and child arrangements) usually requires three to five sessions
The number of sessions is dependent on the issues and complexity involved.
Going through Court to resolve your family matter will generally take 6 to 18 months and could cost in the region of £5,000 to £50,000 if you instruct a solicitor. Mediation is considerably quicker (weeks or months) and is significantly cheaper. Research has shown that agreements which are reached through mediation, usually last longer and have better outcomes for all involved.