What is a MIAM?
A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) refers to the initial meeting with a family mediator. The duration of a MIAM is around one hour. The MIAM provides an opportunity to discuss and introduce the situation and the issues at hand with the mediator. Accordingly, the mediator will explain to you the mediation process and may talk about the options available to reach an agreement.
At the end of the meeting, the mediator will decide whether the case is suitable for mediation and accordingly you will be able to proceed with a mediator (or you may have to use an alternate form of dispute resolution if the mediator believes it is not suited to mediation).
If you agree to it, the mediator may also recommend other organizations that can help you. For example, the organization that can offer counselling, details on how the parents can cooperate after separation, debt services, etc.
If children are above 10 years of age, the mediator can discuss the option of child-inclusive mediation.
Knowing about the MIAM:
What happens during a MIAM?
(As in what will the mediator ask and establish)
At the MIAM you will have a meeting with a qualified family mediator where you can discuss your personal situation confidentially. The mediator will also ask questions and assessments to decide if mediation is suitable to proceed with in particular circumstances.
The initial mediation can be a one-to-one meeting, or with your ex-partner or the other party. Generally, mediation occurs with both parties present, but if you feel unable to be in the same room as the other party, the option of Hybrid Mediation may be suited to you.
What happens after a MIAM?
If both parties agree to proceed with mediation then an appointment can be made for the first mediation session.
In case you decide not to proceed with the mediation or you feel that the mediation is not suitable in your circumstances, then the mediator will explain the range of options to resolve the issues as part of the information and MIAM or assessment meeting.
What do I need to do before a MIAM?
Mediation is designed to be quick and easy, it is not meant to be a complex process and can be very helpful to may cases. Here are some things we would recommend checking before a MIAM appointment to make sure the process runs smoothly.
Make sure you have sent the mediators all the necessary information
Make sure any information that the mediator has asked for is sent to the Mediator in advance. This will reduce any last-minute stress and make sure the MIAM session is as effective as possible.
Make sure all payments are made to the mediator
It is advisable to ensure that all the payments are made to the mediator on time.
If one of the parents are eligible to legal aid then both parents will automatically qualify for a free MIAM (Along with the legal aid work carried on by the mediator).
If neither of the parents are eligible for legal aid and have to pay the full cost, it will come to around 90 GBP per person, however this can vary depending on the individual mediating company who you choose to go to.
Mediation is not free, but it is a much cheaper and faster process than going to court.
If there are any relevant court orders regarding the MIAM, you may want access to these and have them on hand
Generally, before non-urgent applications to the family court for private disputes (eg custody settlements, child arrangement disputes) the court requires that the parties have attended mediation. If you have a court order which requires you to attend mediation with the other party, bringing it to the session/sending it to your mediator in advance could be useful.
Make sure the remote platform you will be using to attend the MIAM is accessible by trying the website beforehand
If the MIAM is happening remotely, it is essential to ensure that any remote platforms are accessible and functioning beforehand so that the session will be easier and smoother.
Some people find it helpful to bring a notepad to write things down
Noting down your thoughts in MAIM can be a great way to stay focused, and a great tool to review later on. Writing down what’s happening can also help if you want to talk to your family and friends about the matter at a later date.
Relax and remember why the MIAM can be very helpful
Make sure, when you attend MIAM you pay attention and try to avoid rushing things. Also, it is advisable to be prepared to expect the unexpected. In case you are not able to respond to a particular scenario, concentrate on what the trainer is explaining about that same issue. Try to stay calm and focus on the learning aspects of MIAM. Do not take decisions instantly and always seek advice in case of doubts or stress.
Finally, one has to keep in mind that the majority of the mediation sessions result in settlement. One can also learn about the opposite party's case and observe a new perspective to an issue, without having to go straight to court.
Note: This article is not a piece of legal advice and must not be treated as legal advice.