What is a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM)?
The first meeting with a mediator is often called a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting or MIAM.
The MIAM will last about 45 minutes to an hour, and will give you an opportunity to tell the mediator about your situation, and the issues that need to be decided. The mediator will tell you about the mediation process and other options for reaching agreements.
At the end of the meeting, the mediator will tell you whether your case is suitable for mediation, and you can decide whether you want to proceed with mediation or explore another option for resolving issues. The mediator can also give you information about other services which provide help and support.
If you agree, the mediator might also refer you to other organisations who can help you, such as those who can offer counselling, debt advice, or information about how to parent co-operatively after separation, where these are relevant.
If you have children who are over the age of 10, the mediator will discuss with you their rights to have their views taken into account. This is an important part of the process designed to support the health and well-being of the children as well as to help parents come to good workable decisions. Research shows this part of the process brings real benefits to your children and to parents as they make decisions for the family.
Contact us to arrange a Family Mediation Council Registered Mediator to arrange an information and assessment meeting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Have To Attend A Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM)?
If you want to take your case to court then, in most cases, you will have to attend a MIAM before making an application. There are only a few specific circumstances where this requirement does not apply (mainly involving domestic abuse). This is because court action should be used only where the protection of the law is required or, as a last resort when alternative ways of resolving things haven’t worked.
If the court has told you that your ex has made an application to resolve issues related to children or finances following divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, the judge will also expect you to have attended a MIAM, unless the same specific circumstances apply.
Going to a MIAM isn’t the same as going to Mediation. A MIAM will help you understand the options available to sort out the issues that need to be resolved, and to choose the best option.
This flowchart from Resolution sets out some of the other options that a mediator may discuss with you.
A full list of the circumstances in which the court does not expect a person to have attended a MIAM is set out here.
How Long Is A MIAM?
The Mediation Information Assessment Meeting usually lasts around 45 minutes to an hour.
What Does The Mediator Do At The Mediation?
Our Mediators are trained to:
- Listen and help you both to work out what has to be dealt with
- Discuss what your options might be and what might work best for the future.
- Make sure you both have chance to speak and be heard
- Provide any information needed to help your discussions
- Tell you when you might need further independent advice on matters such as pensions
- Ensure decisions are made jointly, are fair for both of you, for any children involved, and for your family circumstances
When you reach agreement, the mediator will put it in writing and make sure you’re all clear about what it means.
Are The Decisions We Make Legally Binding?
The decisions you reach are not legally binding on their own. But you can ask a court to make what you have decided into a legally binding consent order. Your mediator can explain what this is and how you can get a consent order.
How Much Will A MIAM Cost?
We charge £140 for a MIAM.
What Happens If Mediation Does Not Go Ahead?
Only mediators accredited by the Family Mediation Council can sign a court form to say you have been to a MIAM. An accredited mediator is known as “FMCA”.
All our mediators are FMCA mediators. You can contact us by following this link:
What Happens If We Want to Proceed To A Mediation, After Our MIAM?
If the MIAM goes well and you all agree to try mediation, you will book mediation sessions. It usually takes between three and five meetings to come to agreement, depending on what you need to sort out.
The mediator will usually see you and your ex partner together, although you should be offered the choice to see the mediator separately if you need to.
What Happen After A MIAM?
If everyone agrees to try mediation, then an appointment is made for your first mediation.
If you decide not to continue into mediation, or it’s not suitable in your circumstances, then the mediator will have explained the range of other options for resolving things as part of the information and assessment meeting or MIAM. If you decide to make an application to court to resolve an issue discussed at the MIAM, then you can ask the mediator to sign the court form, as long as you attended the MIAM within the last four months.
Can I See What Happens At A Mediation?
Mediation is confidential. You can watch a mock mediation session produced by the Family Mediation Council with an FMCA mediator and two actors. Please follow this link to watch the video:
THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION
Mediation provides a safe, confidential environment, allowing you to discuss future arrangements for you and your family. Our MIAM mediators are skilled at helping you navigate the legal and emotional maze that a family breakdown can create. Beyond providing information about the legal framework, this session provides a platform for tailored advice and insights, offering clarity on navigating the mediation process. It is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than going to court.
A MIAM mediation helps provide long-term solutions that are in the best interests of you and your family. It is flexible and can accommodate all of your family’s unique needs, allowing you to keep more control over your future.
Our Mediators will help you to decide:
- if you are eligible for legal aid
- the first steps to take
- the options available to you
- arrangements for your children
- child maintenance payments
- housing and accommodation issues
- how to settle finances, savings, joint debts, pensions and mortgages
Attending a MIAM meeting in England and Wales, you gain a clearer understanding of the mediation service available to you. From providing a confidential space to fostering tailored, cost-effective solutions, our MIAM mediation services empower families through skilled guidance and a flexible approach.
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Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
Weekend appointments are available on request
*We can offer a limited number of pre-arranged mediation sessions outside of office hours subject to agreement and availability. All mediation sessions are held either at our offices or remotely via video conferencing software e.g. Zoom.