What is a MIAM?
A MIAM is a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. The purpose of a MIAM is to provide information about mediation and to assess whether mediation is a suitable way for the parties to reach an agreement, given the circumstances of a particular case. Each party will attend a consultation, on their own, and will have the opportunity to tell the mediator about any issues they wish to resolve through mediation. Information on what to expect from the mediation process will be provided and the mediator will assess suitability based on the information given. If both parties then agree to engage in mediation, a joint session can be arranged.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party is appointed to help the parties reach an agreement in a flexible, confidential way. Mediation involves discussing any issues of contention with your spouse, in the presence of the mediator, to reach a compromise and/or solution, without having to go to Court.
Can I be exempt from attending a MIAM?
You are exempt from attending a MIAM if one of the following applies:
- You and the other party have already reached an agreement and want a Consent Order.
- The application concerns a child who is already the subject of other proceedings.
- There is evidence of domestic violence.
- There is a Child Protection Plan in place or the Local Authority is investigating.
- There is urgent risk, signifying
- A risk to your life or home
- A risk that a delay would cause harm to a child or allow for an abduction
- A risk that justice could not be done
- A risk of unreasonable hardship
- A risk of irretrievable loss of evidence
- In the last four months you:
- Attending a MIAM for this issue
- Were exempt from a MIAM for this issue
- Other Court proceedings are underway for which you already attended a MIAM or were exempt from attending one.
- You have no contact details for the other party
- The application is without notice
- A disability prevents mediation from occurring fairly and/or from reaching an outcome
- One party involved does not live in England & Wales
- One party involved is in prison
- Either the respondent or applicant is a minor
- There is no mediator within a 15 mile radius
- There is no mediator within a 15 mile radius with an available appointment within 15 days
What are the benefits of mediation?
- Mediation gives you more control
As mediation involves you and the other side discussing directly between yourselves, it can give you more control than going through solicitors and a Judge. As the goal is to reach an agreement that both parties are content with, you have the power to reject a proposal from the other side should it not be agreeable.
2. Mediation is often quicker than going to Court
As mediation is often less contentious than Court and does not require the use of a “middle man” it is usually quicker to come to a conclusion. The duration of mediation depends on how long it takes the parties to come to an agreement on any given matter in question.
3. Mediation is more cost effective than going to Court
Due to the fact that mediation avoids going to Court, has less involvement of solicitors and is quicker, the overall cost tends to be significantly less than that of going to Court.
4. Mediation can be more amicable
Due to the nature of mediation being more flexible and giving you the opportunity to voice your opinion in a safe, confidential environment, mediation can often help to preserve relationships. This is particularly beneficial in situations where there are children and extended family involved, where you will need to maintain some sort of relationship with your spouse even after divorce. Mediation can avoid going to Court and the added stress, contentions and arguments that can potentially arise from such an event.
Should I choose to attend mediation?
You are required to attend a MIAM prior to making certain applications to Court. If the mediator assessing your case in the MIAM decides that it is suitable for mediation, then you should consider whether you would like to go through with the mediation process. Your spouse will also need to be agreeable to mediation in order for it to progress. It is recommended that each party obtains independent legal advice before, during and after the mediation process.
Do you have more questions about any of the above points or see yourself requiring the help of a specialist to deal with a family law matter? We are here for you so get in touch today and together we can make sure you are in a good and secure position.