What is a MIAM? - Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting Horsham
Have you been told to get a MIAM from a mediator?
Need a MIAM for court application
MIAM is a family mediation meeting.
It abbreviates Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. In this particular session, a family mediator will feed you with all the necessary information on mediation and alternative ways of resolving the issues that come with your divorce or separation.
The professional family mediator will discuss with you in the MIAM whether mediation or an alternative form of domestic dispute resolution is appropriate for you given your unique circumstances.
The primary focus of this meeting is on trying to solve the dispute out of court. Before filing an application to the court for consequent private law children hearings or even financial remedy regarding divorce, you the applicant must have undertaken a MIAM.
That particular legal requirement was strengthened as well as given statutory force in the year 2014. Since then, any application to the court of justice must be accompanied by a duly filled form containing confirmation from a professional family mediator indicating that either:
- The applicant of the legal proceedings has attended a MIAM
• A MIAM exemption applies to that particular case
• A mediator’s exemption applies in that case. For instance, that in the authorised mediator’s opinion, the dispute is not suitable for family mediation.
The MIAM Exemptions
• Domestic violence
• Child protection concerns
• Previous MIAM exemptions or MIAM attendance
• Other exemptions. Other reasons that can allow an applicant to file a hearing without attending a MIAM may include; if a party to the legal proceedings is bankrupt, if there are inadequate contact details to find the respondent or if one party to the case is in prison.
Although it is not listed as an exemption above, you will not need to go through a MIAM when you are asking the honourable court to pass a consent order for you to formalise an agreement that both of you have reached. The MIAM process is still in its infancy, having been introduced in 2014, but its ultimate goals is to encourage more spouses to use mediation instead of rushing to legal proceedings.
Even though the legal aid is still an alternative for mediation to those who are financially eligible, there has been a significant problem. The major referrers to family mediation were solicitors and from April 2013, when the aid for legal advice was removed in most cases, people have not been consulting lawyers. Due to this, they are not utilizing mediation as much as they did.
The Government had been warned that this was to happen, but it has only recently woken up to the unintended repercussions of the legal aid scrapping.
If some proceedings have been allowed, the court will still consider, at every level whether non-court dispute resolution like mediation is appropriate.
The court can even adjourn proceedings to utilise these alternatives first. Family Mediation is a process of helping resolve disputes regarding issues faced by estranged couples which include arrangements for the children, assets, and finances.
A mediator meets with the couple, identify the issues which they cannot agree on and then assist them to try to arrive at an agreement.
It is possible for you to go through mediation just the both of you without the involvement of advocates. However, it is always recommended for one to have some independent legal counsel before and during mediation. But in some cases, people find it important to have lawyers present during the mediation process to offer additional support.