The first step to mediation is attending a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
This is to help you decide if mediation is suitable to resolve your dispute. It won’t mean you have to mediate, as mediation is always voluntary and some cases are not suitable.
The government wants to encourage the use of family mediation to reduce the number of cases being decided by the courts. If you want to issue family court proceedings, you may have to see a mediator to hear about mediation, which means attending a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
If you think you may be on the receiving end of court proceedings, you should also come to an assessment. This is because the court is likely to ask both parties at different stages at court whether they have been to a MIAM.
Most people prefer to attend the MIAM on their own, with their ex-partner attending a separate meeting. You will both need to have attended a MIAM before you start mediation. This is to make sure you understand what mediation is, how long it might take and how much it might cost.
The mediator will also make sure that you are both able to sit down and talk to each other. If this is going to be difficult, either because of anxiety or safety issues, then the mediator will discuss what steps can be taken to make mediation possible – or look at alternatives if it is clear that mediation is not suitable.
If after the MIAM meeting, you both agree to proceed with Mediation; the mediator will agree a mutually convenient time for both of you to attend a joint meeting which lasts 90 minutes.
The mediator helps:
- to clarify what has to be sorted;
- to provide support and a framework to help you deal with these issues;
- to create an opportunity so you can be heard;
- to assist you in identifying and exploring options;
- to write up your agreement.