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Before you can start family court proceedings for children or finance related matters, you must attend a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to decide if mediation could be an effective option for you to proceed.

In most cases mediation is effective – it can be faster, less costly and less stressful than going directly to court – but the MIAM is where you and a professional mediator can weigh up the circumstances of your case and decide either way.

To do this, it’s important that you are honest and upfront with the mediator about any relevant information regarding your case.

An MIAM is mandatory

For certain family law cases – including divorce – it is compulsory to attend an MIAM before you can take your case to court, so make the most of this opportunity to find out more about family law mediation.

Over the course of about 45 minutes, the mediator will share with you certain basic information about how mediation can help. They may also ask you for information about your personal circumstances, which of course is always confidential.

At the end of the session, you should have a good idea of whether mediation is right for you, and how much it will cost.

If communication has broken down…

The MIAM is always carried out separately so you have a chance to talk to the mediator confidentially at this initial stage.

There should be no need for you to be in the same room during your MIAM, or to put you in any position where you feel unable to share important information because your spouse is also there.

Mediation can continue to liaise with both parties separately throughout the process – this is called shuttle mediation and can allow progress to be made even in fraught circumstances.

Putting you first

Remember, mediators care about making good progress with minimal cost, delay and stress to all parties, so you can view your MIAM as the first step towards divorcing with dignity.

In a very real sense, it is one of several ‘first days of the rest of your life’ you will encounter during divorce – so don’t be afraid to embrace it and tell your mediator what you want to achieve along the way.

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