MIAM stands for Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. As a general rule, you are required to attend a MIAM, before you can apply to the court for an order relating to your children or your financial matters. Your spouse or partner should be invited to attend, although that is not compulsory.
A MIAM is a meeting between you, your spouse or partner (if they accept an invitation to attend) and a mediator. It can only be conducted by a mediator who meets the criteria set by the Family Mediation Council and who is not otherwise involved in the issues between you.
The purpose of a MIAM is for the mediator to assess whether mediation (or other forms of resolution other than court process) could be used to resolve the issues between you and your spouse or partner.
The mediator will explore the issues that need dealing with, and will explain what your options are, what mediation is, how it works, the benefits and the likely costs whilst also assessing risk factors such as domestic and family violence and vulnerability as well as covering urgency and financial eligibility for public funding. The mediator will also look at other options for resolving your issues, such as collaborative law or arbitration, putting those in the context of your own situation.
A typical MIAM lasts around 45 minutes to an hour.
If the mediator is content to do so, they will countersign your Court application form, stating either that the case is suitable for mediation, or that it is not.
If it is suitable for mediation, and your spouse and partner didn’t attend the MIAM, then the mediator can contact them to invite them to attend a MIAM. If you both agree, the mediator can then start the mediation process with you both.
However providing you have attended a MIAM, you are free to issue court proceedings, whether the mediator certifies that the case is suitable for mediation, or not. You must issue court proceedings within 4 months of the date of the MIAM, otherwise you will need to attend another one.