The Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (usually called a MIAM) is the first step in the mediation process. You meet with the mediator, so you can find out more about mediation and think about whether it’s right for you. The mediator will listen to what you have to say and talk to you about whether mediation will work for you. The mediator will also tell you about other options that could help you avoid going to court such as collaborative law or solicitor negotiations.
Usually you and your ex-partner will have separate MIAM’s – but you can go together if this is what you both want.
When should I go to a MIAM?
Mediation is often most effective when it takes place at an early stage, before the issues become big problems. So, it’s best to contact a mediator as soon as you and your ex-partner realise you need help sorting out arrangements. If you’re not sure of what your options are it can be helpful to talk things through with a mediator. They can tell you about other help and support services if you need them.
It’s never too late to go to mediation though. You can use mediation if your negotiations have got stuck or something has changed, and your arrangements are no longer working. You can even use mediation after you have been to court to work out how best to put the court order into action.
It often helps to have a fresh look at the situation with the help of an independent mediator.
When do I have to go to a MIAM?
The law says that you must consider whether mediation can help you before you can take a case to court. You will need to show the court that you have attended a MIAM unless special circumstances apply, like domestic abuse. Once you have attended the MIAM you can choose whether you want to go ahead with mediation.
Will anyone else find out what I say at a MIAM?
The mediator will keep what you say private. The only exception to this is if you say something that makes the mediator worried that someone is at risk. The mediator then needs to think about whether Social Care or the Police need to be told.
The mediator will not tell your ex-partner what you have talked about.
Who pays for a MIAM?
If you’re on a low income and you qualify for Legal Aid, then the MIAM and the mediation sessions will be free. You may also get financial help to pay for legal advice in connection with the mediation.
If one of you qualifies for Legal Aid but the other doesn’t you will still both be able to have an information meeting and the first session of mediation for free.
You can use the online Legal Aid Checker at https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid or call the Civil Legal Advice service on 0345 345 4345 to see if you are eligible.
Any costs not covered by Legal Aid need to be paid for privately. You can call individual mediation services to find out their rates. There is no set fee.
What happens after the MIAM?
If both you and your ex-partner have been to a MIAM and want to mediate, then the next step is for your mediation service to offer you a joint appointment.
If one of you doesn’t want to mediate, or the mediator says it’s not suitable, then the mediation stops there. If you have attended your MIAM the mediator can sign your court form to show the court you have found out about mediation.
Family mediation can be:
Quicker and cheaper than long court battles
Less stressful than court – with less conflict between you and your ex-partner
Gives you more control over decisions than if you go to court
Easier emotionally for children when parents co-operate and work together
Mediation could be free if you are financially eligible for Legal Aid. You do not need a solicitor to make a referral to mediation.
For more information:
or telephone 01827 314020
Accreditation Number 1128A
Staffordshire Family Mediation
Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Wolverhampton