Since April 2014 it has been compulsory for anyone making an application to the court about a family matter to attend a MIAMS (Mediation Information and Assessment meeting). There are limited exceptions to this. The idea behind it was to encourage more people to use mediation to resolve issues rather than the court process. The great thing about finding a resolution in mediation is that it really is your resolution. You talk about it, craft it, tweak it, reality check it, and consider it before you commit to it. When people make arrangements themselves they are much more likely to stick to them. Most people prefer deciding what to do themselves, rather than having someone else tell them what to do. This is especially the case where it involves their children. Parents are usually best placed to decide what is best for their children.
We are under no illusion about how hard that can be. When you and your ex partner can’t even exchange a single civilised word how on earth can you come together to make arrangements to do with a whole wealth of things?
We look upon MIAMS as an opportunity. The starting point is that we invite each person to attend their own MIAMS meeting. These meetings are completely separate. Neither of you will be present at each other’s meeting. The meetings can (and often do) take place on different days. Those meetings give us the chance to explain what mediation is to each of you. It also enables you to give us some background information about what’s been happening. We will also ask you questions and provide you with helpful information.
We invite both you and your ex partner to attend your own separate MIAMS. Your ex partner is not obliged to come – and they may not. If they do attend then after those meetings we will let you both know whether we think mediation might help you. Of course you may feel at this point that your ex partner won’t work hard to find a solution. But ask yourself what would they say about you? You are completely free to choose whether you come to mediation or not. If you’ve each attended a MIAMS and we have suggested mediation can help, then you can still say “No thanks. It’s not for me”. In a MIAMS we will also tell you the different processes you can use to help you find a resolution. So if mediation is not for you, you may find out about a process that might help. It’s your choice and you’re in control.
If you’re still confused about what a MIAMS is then you may find this blog helpful.
For more information about MIAMS please get in touch . We’re always happy to provide information, or to have a chat to help you to find the right way forward.