From April 2011 it was expected that anyone wishing to make an application to the Court on a private family matter would attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting unless an exemption applied.
From 22 April 2014 it will be compulsory for people to attend a MIAM prior to making a court application.
Only Family Mediation Council-accredited mediators can undertake a MIAM and issue a certificate for Court.
The purpose of a MIAM is to give you a real opportunity of finding out about all the different options available to you to sort out your dispute without resorting to Court.
This means that if you wish to apply to the Court for:
(a) private law proceedings relating to children; or
(b) a financial remedy following separation or divorce
you will need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting with a mediator. The Courts will also expect the other party to attend a meeting if asked to do so.
The exemptions applicable are:
(a) you or the other party has made an allegation of domestic violence against the other resulting in a police investigation or the granting of an injunction within the last 12 months
(b) the dispute concerns financial issues and you or the other party is bankrupt
(c) you and the other party are in agreement and there is no dispute
(d) you do not know where the other party is
(e) the prospective application is to be made without notice to the other party
(f) the prospective application is for an order in relevant family proceedings which are already in existence and continuing
(g) the prospective application is urgent, meaning: there is a risk to the life, liberty or physical safety of the applicant or his or her family or his or her home; or
(h) any delay caused by attending a MIAM would cause a risk of significant harm to a child, a significant risk of a miscarriage of justice, unreasonable hardship to the you or irretrievable problems in dealing with the dispute (such as an irretrievable loss of significant evidence);
(i) there is current social services involvement as a result of child protection concerns in respect of any child who would be the subject of the prospective application;
(j) a child would be a party to the prospective application; or
(k) you have contacted three mediators within 15 miles of your home and none is available to conduct a MIAM within 15 working days of the date of contact.
Divorce Nicely offers this service at various locations
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01304 800002.