The first meeting with a mediator called a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
This meeting explains how mediation works and allows you to ask questions about the process. Mediators are trained to help you assess whether mediation is right for you and your family. They will also discuss how many sessions you may need, how much it would cost, and look at whether you might be entitled to Legal Aid.
Although most people who are applying for a court order have to attend a MIAM, there are some exceptions. These include cases where it has proved impossible to get in touch with an ex-partner, or where there is an allegation of domestic abuse or concerns over child protection issues. Another exception is if one partner is bankrupt and the issue to be raised is financial. There may also be no need for a MIAM if the application is part of an ongoing case, or where an urgent court order is needed.
These meetings are usually held individually, exceptionally our mediator may agree to a joint MIAM meeting but this should be agreed on a case by case basis. Time will always be spent with each person alone to make sure they have made their own decision to come to mediation and are not at risk of any harm or abuse.
If mediation proves to be inappropriate in your case, then the mediator will sign the appropriate form(s), to show that you have considered mediation as required by the Law.
Click here to look at our Legal Aid section and see if you might be entitled to a free MIAM and mediation meeting