Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)
If you are thinking about going to court to resolve a family issue, such as a dispute with your ex-partner over childcare or dividing your finances upon divorce, you will first be asked to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
Attending a MIAM can be a great way of working out whether mediation is right for you before committing to the process. For further information or to arrange a MIAM, get in touch with our friendly mediation solicitors in Wakefield, Ossett, or Garforth.
Why choose our mediation solicitors?
Our family law team includes three mediators, Clare Thornton, Shelley Walesand Amanda Gait who specialise in helping families across West Yorkshire find constructive alternatives to lengthy and stressful court proceedings to sort out family related issues, regardless of complexity.
Clare, a Partner in our firm, has undergone training with Resolution and is an accredited member of the Family Mediation Council. Clare is also a Professional Practise Consultant (PPC) qualified to support and supervise other mediators. Clare is also able to work directly with children and undertake child inclusive mediation
Amanda, one of our Senior Solicitors, is also fully accredited by the Family Mediation Council and is a member of Resolution.
Shelley is a senior solicitor who has trained in mediation and is working towards her accreditation. She is a very experienced and popular mediator who deals with both financial and children mediations.
All three are able to provide MIAMs and full mediation services to individuals and families across Wakefield, Ossett, Garforth and the wider West Yorkshire area.
What is a MIAM?
A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is a meeting between you and a mediator to talk through your options for resolving a family law issue, such as:
- Disagreements about where your children will live after you and your ex-partner separate
- Difficulty deciding how much time your children will spend with each parent and other people, such as grandparents
- Disagreements about your children’s upbringing, such as where they should go to school and whether they should change their names
- Disputes over financial arrangements upon divorce or dissolution, such as what should happen to the family home
- Disagreements over spousal maintenance upon divorce or dissolution
The aim of a MIAM is to find a positive solution while avoiding court proceedings which can be lengthy, expensive and stressful (particularly for any children involved).
For further information, have a read of our blog post, What is a MIAM, written by one of our qualified mediators, Clare Thornton.
What happens at a MIAM?
At your MIAM, the mediation will explain:
- All your options for resolving the issue
- What mediation is and how it works
- Talking through the pros and cons of mediation so you can decide whether it is the right option for you
- Whether there are any other forms of alternative dispute resolution that might benefit you, such a collaborative law or arbitration
- How much mediation might cost (compared with the costs of going to court)
Usually you attend your MIAM on your ownalthough you are welcome to bring a friend or relative with you as a second pair of ears if you wish. Obviously if you decide to proceed with mediation you would not be able to have anyone else with you unless all parties agree. We will discuss this with you at your MIAMs.
What are the benefits of a MIAM?
Family law is now all about promoting cooperative and amicable resolutions to family related issues wherever possible. Not only do forms of alternative dispute resolution (such as mediation) tend to be faster and cheaper than going to court, they also tend to be much less stressful. In particular, where children are involved, it is beneficial to try to avoid court wherever possible to reduce the negative effect of their parents’ separation upon them.
Can I have a video MIAM meeting?
We can conduct MAIMs either face to face or via video conferencing. When you call for an appointment you will be offered either option and we will deal with all the arrangements for the video call if you prefer that option.
Do I have to attend a MIAM?
If you want to apply to court in relation to a family law issue, you and your ex-partner will be expected to attend a MIAM. There are some exemptions to this, such as if:
- There are any allegations of domestic violence that can be supported by evidence (such as a police report or previous court applications for protection)
- You need to make an urgent court application because there is a risk to you and/or your children
- You and/or your ex-partner are bankrupt and the application is about money
- You do not know where your ex-partner is
What happens if my ex-partner doesn’t want to attend a MIAM?
You can attend a MIAM with or without your ex-partner. If they do not want to cooperate and refuse to consider mediation, the mediator will give you a signed form that you can submit with your court application to say you attended a MIAM. The court will consider this satisfactory and issue the application. If your ex-partner comes around to the idea of mediation later on, you can still mediate even if you have already issued court proceedings.
What happens after the MIAM?
If you decide that mediation is right for you, your mediator will provide advice about how to proceed with the process. For some general information about using family mediation, visit our Mediation Solicitors page.
If you decide that mediation is not right for you, the mediator will provide you with a signed form that confirms you attended a MIAM. You must submit this form with your court application forms to be able to issue proceedings.