Mediation Information Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) have been compulsory in England and Wales for all divorcing and separating couples for a just over a year since they came into force in April, 2014.
Compulsory MIAMs were introduced to encourage more divorces and separations to be settled out of Court through mediation. If successful, they can reduce time, cost and stress for both of you.
The MIAM itself is the first meeting between the two of you and the mediator, although you can attend the MIAM on your own if you prefer. This meeting allows for the mediator to explain the process of mediation and assess whether it would suit your needs.
A recent article published on the Solicitors Journal talks about the claim made by the family law organisation, Resolution, that MIAMs are not always effective.
Expert family lawyers at Slater and Gordon have outlined some of the pros and cons of mediation below.
Mediation can be very beneficial if both of you are willing to attend and can help your divorce or separation to conclude quickly and efficiently.
During mediation, your mediator can help you to discuss your situation calmly and rationally so that you can resolve issues relating to children, as well as the division of property, assets and pensions.
It’s important to note that your mediator is impartial; they don’t take sides or give you legal advice. They can however give you legal information and so shouldn’t allow you to reach an agreement that is unfair to one party. Nor is mediation marriage guidance counselling. If you are at the point of mediation, it means your relationship has ended and neither of you wish to reconcile.
If you are unable to resolve issues in mediation, then your case may have to be referred to a judge and the outstanding decisions will be decided in court.
Mediation is not suitable for everyone; it will be decided at the MIAM if you and your former spouse will benefit from it. Mediation would not be appropriate, for example, in cases of domestic violence or where one person is particularly vulnerable and/or feels unable to speak up in front of their former partner.
Mediation is often a cheaper and quicker process to resolve your disputes than going to court. Recent Ministry of Justice statistics reveal that more than two thirds of cases are resolved in mediation.
Experience has also shown us that successful outcomes in mediation and agreements reached, tend to stick better than if it is a decision imposed upon two parties by a judge, which sadly is the alternative route if you’re not able to reach an agreement.
Slater and Gordon family lawyers can help you with your MIAM and the mediation that follows should your situation be suited to it.
For an initial consultation call us on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to assist.