What is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting and why should it be your first port of call when you separate?

  • How do we start to have the difficult conversation about separating or divorcing?
  • What do we do?
  • Where do we go?
  • What about our children?

These are immediate and important questions for many separating couples. A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting provides an opportunity to ask them and get the answers which will enable you to make informed decisions about how you want to move forward. For families going through the process of separation and divorce, it can be a very effective first port of call for information about children, divorce and finances, physical, mental and emotional well-being, the availability of Legal Aid, other relevant services and resources as well as getting legal advice.

What is a MIAM?

MIAM stands for Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.During the MIAM your mediator will talk through with you the options you have available for resolving things out of court, including mediation, and the advantages and disadvantages of each of the option with you. The meeting is confidential and will help you consider whether your issues can be resolved without going to court.

Which Mediators can help with a MIAM?

The mediator must be accredited by the Family Mediation Council (FMC). Amanda Phillips-Wylds the Head of our Family Department is an accredited mediatorDo I have to attend a MIAM?

You will have to go to a MIAM before making any application to court unless one of the exemptions applies to you. These include:

  • Domestic Violence (you will need to meet certain criteria)
  • Child protection concerns
  • Urgency
  • Previous attendance at a MIAM or MIAM exemption.

Who goes to a MIAM?

Most couples decide to have separate meetings. This means you can each speak to the mediator separately and freely about your hopes and fears, and the mediator can make sure you are comfortable with the process.

What should I expect at a MIAM?

During a MIAM your mediator will:

  1. Provide you with information about mediation and other forms of dispute resolution, including arbitration, the court process, negotiating via solicitors and the collaborative process.
  2. Determine whether mediation is suitable for you and your ex-partner.
  3. Consider whether there has been or there is a risk of domestic abuse or harm to you or any children.
  4. Provide you with information and signpost you to any other relevant support they feel may be beneficial.

How do things progress after a MIAM?

If the mediator feels it is suitable for you, and your partner both agree to try mediation you can arrange an appointment for your first joint mediation session.If it is not suitable or you decide not to proceed with mediation, then the mediator will need to complete the relevant form to show you have considered trying mediation. This will enable you or your solicitors to issue your application at court if that is how you choose to proceed.

How much does a MIAM cost?

Our charges for a MIAM are £200 plus VAT. We do not offer legal aid but if you are eligible for legal aid, you can source a mediator who does offer legal aid and the MIAM will be free.