A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting is an individual meeting between you and your mediator where the mediator will explain what mediation will involve and whether your case is suitable for mediation. If you plan on getting divorced and have children with your ex-partner or you own property, investments, and other financial assets, you are required to attend a MIAM.
While mediation is a voluntary process for both parties, if you go to court before attending a MIAM and the judge finds that your situation would be better suited for a mediation meeting, the court can postpone your case until you try to resolve your differences in a mediation meeting. This is often the case as many legal professionals agree that mediation is usually the better option for resolving parenting or financial arrangements after separation.
Why Is Mediation The Better Option?
Family mediation offers a range of benefits over going to court to resolve financial and child arrangements, including:
- Quicker Alternative – Mediation is usually a shorter process than family court as mediation can take anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks. In comparison, going to court can take months or even years.
- More Amicable – Family mediation is usually less stressful than going to court and it can help resolve situations in ways that would be more amicable than at court.
- It’s Cheaper – One of the main benefits of choosing mediation over going to court is that it’s usually the cheaper option. You won’t need to negotiate through a solicitor which means you save money in the long term.
Although family mediation is required in most cases, there are certain situations where you may be exempt from needing to attend a MIAM before going to court. Below, we explain some of the exemptions.
What Are The Exemptions From Needing To Attend a MIAM?
It’s not always necessary to attend mediation, but if you do need to go to court to resolve disputes, you will be asked to show that you have been to a MIAM unless your situation means that you are exempt.
Domestic Abuse Cases
If there is evidence of violence or domestic abuse against you, you do not need to attend mediation. However, when you submit your court application, you will be asked to provide evidence of domestic abuse and you will also need to show details about the criminal proceedings of the other party or that they had been arrested for an offence for domestic violence.
In cases when you do not have this information, you will need to ask your medical practitioner to provide written evidence. You can also ask a professional body or a domestic abuse organisation to show that the abuse had taken place.
No Available Mediators Within 15 Miles
If you have been unable to get a family mediator within 15 miles of your home as they have all informed you that they are unable to schedule a MIAM meeting within 15 working days, then you do not need to attend a MIAM. However, you will need to have tried all of these mediators, or at least three if there are several. You should also consider that many family mediators are now offering online MIAMs due to the pandemic which may help accommodate these timescales and also any disabilities.
An Urgent Hearing Is Required
It’s important to note that the urgency of your case will be decided by the court. However, in situations that involve children and if there is a risk of harm or life, you may not need to attend a MIAM. If there is an urgent and serious matter involving you, your child or your family, you should seek legal advice.
Both Parties Live Abroad
If either yourself or the other party habitually resides outside of England and Wales, then you will not be expected to attend a MIAM. It would be difficult to physically attend a meeting, however, with many mediators now offering online mediation, this may change.
There Already Is an Ongoing Linked Case at Court
If you already have a linked case that is ongoing in court and you are just submitting a new application, you will not be required to attend a mediation meeting. You will be needed to provide details of the ongoing case to the court.
Concerns of Child Safety
For those that are submitting a C100 form and have concerns about child protection, if the child is subject to a child protection plan or if the authority is enquiring into the child’s safety, you will not need to attend a mediation meeting before submitting the C100. An example of this would be if your child has been taken into police protection.
This is not an exhaustive list of exemptions and if you require more information, please contact our family mediators.
At Family Mediation & Counselling Services, we offer family mediation services to help you reach an agreement on the financial settlements and child arrangements. We now also offer online mediation sessions, so if you are looking for alternative options to going to court, get in touch with us today.
Get in Touch with Family Mediation & Counselling Services
If you would like to have an online family mediation with one of our highly-trained and experienced family mediators, then please call us now or you can complete our ‘Request a Call Back’ form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
Call us on 0330 113 0005 or you can request a call back here.