Direct Mediation Services

MIAM for Family Mediation

What is a MIAM?

MIAM stands for Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting. It provides you with information about the mediation process and assesses whether mediation is appropriate for your case.

The MIAM for family mediation is the first meeting where for up to one hour, you have the opportunity to tell the mediator about your situation and the issues that need to be addressed.

The mediator is there to guide you and to answer any questions you have about the mediation process, court proceedings and where to go to get help. 

How a MIAM for family mediation works

1. Initial Inquiry

Get in touch to start your family mediation journey and to look into how your case is funded.
Family mediation can support you in sorting out child arrangements and financial matters.
We can also provide you with information about how to apply for funding from the Legal Aid Agency for your family mediation case.

2. Individual Meeting (MIAM)

MIAM stands for Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting.
Meetings can be schedule for private client within 24 hours (fast track) or within 2 working days for regular MIAMs.
MIAMs funded by the Legal Aid Agency may take more time due to assessing and securing funding.
The MIAM lasts between 45 to 60 minutes. It is usually conducted online and your ex-partner won't be in attendance at this meeting. It is a private and confidential appointment, so you can speak freely to the mediator about the issue that you are facing. After your MIAM, if mediation is appropriate, we will invite the other person to attend a MIAM. The other participant has two weeks to respond to the invitation.

If you are a private client, shedule a private meeting with one of our expert mediators to receive guidance on your options and the mediation process.

3. MIAM for respondent participant

This meeting has an identical format to the applicant's MIAM. Together with the mediator, you will discuss the case from your perspective and have the opportunity to ask questions. It is the duty of the mediator to assess the suitability of your case. If you and the other person are willing to continue with the process, your mediator will arrange the first mediation session. Please bear in mind that this could take some time in cases where need to secure funding for your case, such as the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme.

4. Mediation Sessions

During mediation sessions, the mediator facilitates structured discussions between the participants involved, focusing on resolving disputes and reaching mutually agreeable solutions. Each session of two hours typically begins with a brief overview of the process and the ground rules, followed by setting the agenda. Through guided discussions, the mediator helps the participants explore various options and work towards compromises. These sessions are confidential and aim to reduce conflict, promoting understanding and collaboration. The number and duration of sessions can vary depending on the complexity of the issues and the willingness of the participants to cooperate.

5. Preparation of documentation

In family mediation, several key documents are prepared to formalise agreements and ensure clarity. These include Parenting Plans, which outline arrangements for child arrangemenrs, and other child-related matters, and the Open Financial Statement (OFS), which provides a detailed account of each participant's financial situation. This is basically the same as the Form E. If financial agreements are reached, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is drafted to summarise the terms. Please note that these documents are chargeable, and the mediator will explain the associated costs during the mediation process.

MIAM meeting: choose the best option for you

Book an online MIAM

Book a fast track MIAM

Direct Mediation Services for your MIAM

At Direct Mediation Services, we understand that taking the first step towards mediation can feel daunting. That’s why we are committed to providing a supportive and professional environment for your Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Here are several reasons why choosing us can make a difference in your mediation journey:

Expertise and experience

Our team of accredited mediators are experts in conflict resolution and also specialise in a variety of areas. Our mediators doing MIAMs are equipped to handle complex situations with sensitivity and professionalism.

Mediators accredited by the Family Mediation Council

This accreditation ensures that our family mediators meet high professional standards, necessary for handling sensitive family disputes effectively and ethically.

Client-centered approach

We prioritise your needs and tailor our mediation process to suit your unique circumstances. Our goal is to empower you to make informed decisions that are right for you and your family.

Convenience and flexibility

We offer flexible scheduling options, online mediation sessions, to accommodate your busy life. Our services are designed to be accessible and convenient, ensuring that you can engage in mediation at a time and place that suits you.

Transparent pricing

Our fees are competitive and clear, with no hidden charges. We provide all the information upfront, so you can plan your mediation without any surprises. At Direct Mediation Services our MIAM fee includes the certificate needed to make the court application.

Confidential and neutral

Privacy and impartiality are at the core of our practice. We guarantee a confidential service, providing a safe space where you can freely express your views and seek resolution.

Frequently asked questions about MIAM

  • Provides information about the mediation process and what to expect.
  • Assesses whether mediation is a suitable option for your specific situation.
  • Offers an opportunity to discuss your concerns and goals in a confidential setting.
  • Helps you understand the benefits and limitations of mediation compared to other dispute resolution methods.
  • Allows you to ask questions and seek clarification about the mediation process.
  • Empowers you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with mediation.
  • Provides guidance on next steps and resources available to support you in resolving your family dispute.

In the UK, attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is generally compulsory for those wishing to initiate court proceedings, including matters related to divorce, child custody, and financial settlements. The requirement is part of an effort to encourage out-of-court resolutions, which are often less stressful, less costly, and quicker than traditional court proceedings.

A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting is typically required before you can take a family dispute to court in the UK. However, there are specific circumstances under which you might be exempt from attending a MIAM:

  1. Domestic Violence: if there is evidence of domestic violence, such as a relevant police caution, criminal conviction, protective injunction, or relevant medical report documenting injuries, you may be exempt from attending a MIAM.

  2. Child Protection Concerns: if the case involves issues like child protection or child abduction, where there are ongoing proceedings or an immediate risk to the child’s safety, MIAM attendance may be exempted.

  3. Urgency: if a delay caused by attending a MIAM would cause significant harm, risk of harm, or unjustifiable hardship, you might be exempt. This could include cases where there is a risk of financial loss if immediate action is not taken.

  4. Lack of Contact: if you have no contact information for the other party, or it is impossible to contact them, this may qualify as an exemption.

  5. Previous MIAM Attendance or Mediation: if you, your ex-partner, or both have attended a MIAM or engaged in mediation regarding the same or a substantially similar matter within the last four months, you might not need to attend another MIAM.

  6. Incapacity or Disability: if you or the other party has a disability or other condition that makes attending a MIAM impossible or unreasonably difficult, even with support, you may be exempt.

At the end of the meeting, the mediator will tell you whether your case is suitable for mediation. You can also decide whether you want to continue with mediation or explore other options to resolve your family issues.

In the UK, a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) certificate remains valid for four months from the date of the meeting. This means that if you attend a MIAM and receive a certificate, you have four months from that date to use it if you decide to proceed with court proceedings related to family matters. After four months, the certificate expires, and you will need to attend another MIAM if you wish to pursue mediation before initiating court proceedings.

If your ex-partner refuses to participate in the MIAM or continuously fails to attend, you can still proceed with your own MIAM session. During this meeting, the mediator will help you understand your options and next steps, even if mediation is not going to be possible.

After attending a MIAM alone, if mediation is considered unsuitable or if the other party refuses to engage, the mediator can issue a form C100 (for child arrangements), the Form A (for Financial arrangements) or the FM1. These forms certify that you have attended a MIAM and that mediation was considered or attempted. These documents are necessary if you decide to take the matter to court.

Since 2014 it is a legal requirement to attend a MIAM Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting before making an application to the Court relating to a family dispute. This is to enable you to at least attempt mediation in the first instance. At your MIAM, your family mediator will provide you with information about mediation so that you can make an informed decision whether mediation is right for you. They will also assess your case for its suitability at mediation.

It is important that you are aware that mediation itself is not compulsory, it is only the MIAM. This is because the legal requirement is for you to at least consider family mediation before applying to the Court. Mediation is a voluntary process, meaning that you do not have to use it if you don’t want to. An application to Court however may result in a judge asking you why you did not use mediation, and they can actually direct you back to mediation to try and resolve your dispute at mediation.

You need to attend a MIAM if you are experiencing either of the following family disputes:

  1. Child arrangements – if you are trying to resolve issues relating to your children, such as where they live or who spends time with them.
  2. Financial arrangements – if you are trying to resolve issues relating to your finances or property through your divorce or separation.

Everyone has different needs and that is whay we offer different services. Below are the different types of MIAMs that we offer:

  • MIAM during office hours: We promise you an online MIAM appointment within two days of booking or less. This could be during lunchtime or before picking up your children from school.
  • Fast track MIAM online: We understand that sometimes you need the MIAM certificate quickly to complete a court application and that is why we offer an express service.
  • Legal Aid: If you qualify for Legal Aid you will receive the service free of charge. This funding can also partially fund the other person in mediation.

Please check our website for costs.

If after your meeting the mediator says that mediation is not suitable for your case, they will give you a signed form (C100, Form A or FM1) which allows you to make an application to the family courts.

A Fast Track MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) is an expedited version of the standard MIAM process, designed to accommodate urgent situations where immediacy is required. You can book your MIAM appointment on the same day, outside normal office hours or at specific times on a weekend. Your MIAM certificate can also be given to you immediately after your appointment.

  • Court application: If you need to make an application to the courts quickly, or the courts have directed you to attend a MIAM for mediation and there is a tight deadline.
  • High conflict situations: If there’s ongoing conflict or communication breakdown, seeking mediation promptly can help prevent escalation and facilitate constructive dialogue.
  • Child arrangement issues: Getting the process started is essential in situations involving children, where decisions must be made quickly to ensure the welfare of the child.
  • Time-sensitive issues: When there are pressing matters that need immediate attention, such as temporary child arrangements, financial support, or property matters.