If you are separating from your partner, or planning a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, it is likely that you will need to attend a MIAM. This is the first meeting where you meet on your own with a mediator to find out more about mediation and how it works, it usually takes 30-45 minutes and costs nothing (if you qualify for legal aid) or PS100 including VAT if you are privately paying.
During the MIAM the mediator will take some background information from you and then assess whether they feel that your case is suitable for mediation. This is an important part of the process, because mediation may not be appropriate for all cases. For example, if there is a risk of domestic abuse or harm to children the mediator will need to ask questions about this as it would be inappropriate to mediate in those circumstances.
The mediator will also explain to you how mediation works and the various options you have for resolving your disputes without court proceedings. It is very important to think about the other alternatives to court before you make an application as this will help you to save time and money in the long run.
In most cases a judge will expect you to have attended a MIAM before they hear your case, although there are certain exemptions which apply (mainly for domestic abuse situations). It is also important to attend a MIAM even if you are sure that you do not want to go through with a court application. It is possible that you might change your mind after attending a MIAM and mediation could potentially be the right solution for you.
During your MIAM the mediator will not discuss anything that you say with your ex-partner or their representative and it is completely confidential. However, if you think that communication is so bad between you that it would be impossible for you to be in the same room together in mediation or you are at risk of harm then you should mention this in your MIAM. In those circumstances the mediator will try and help you to arrange shuttle mediation.
In addition to this, your mediator will talk with you about the possibility of joint sessions during the mediation process as these can often be very effective in resolving issues. In fact, many of our clients find that they can agree on many issues in a joint session, rather than going to court and fighting it out at a hearing. miam mediation