Since April 2014, there has been a requirement (with some limited exceptions) that anyone wanting to go to Court should attend a meeting with a Family Mediation Council accredited mediator to find out about mediation and other non court options. That meeting is known as a mediation information and assessment meeting. Some people view this as a tick box exercise but this meeting is a pivotal opportunity to explore whether there is a better way for you to separate through mediation or an alternative dispute resolution method.
You will have the option of being seen separately or together and I will consider with you what will work best when we speak to you over the telephone. Even if you attend together I will take the time to speak with you both, individually so that we can really understand the position for each of you before seeing you together. I recognise that it is unusual for couples to feel the same way about their separation or to be in the same place emotionally and I take the time to understand where you are both currently at and importantly your hopes and fears for the future.
A MIAM gives you the opportunity to consider if mediation can resolve your issues without using the Court process which is the rationale behind the change in the law to encourage people to try and find their own solutions together with the help of a mediator rather than having decisions imposed after a costly court process. I ask that anyone attending does so with an open mind as to how non court options may help but I also understand that mediation does not suit everyone and I will carefully explore the process with you.
I will talk to you in detail about what the process involves and how it may help each of you. I will ask you some questions and take the time to understand your personal situation as you see it and how you hope to move forward. If mediation is not suitable, or you or your partner feels it is not the right process I will also tell you about the different processes you can use to help you find a solution.
Mediation is by no means an easy option and that is why I take time to personally assess your circumstances at a MIAM before any mediation process begins so you are as best prepared as possible. If you decide to move forward with mediation I will also discuss and plan your mediation and give you tips and guidance to make the best use of the process. If mediation is not the right pathway which could be a decision you make or I do based on my experience, I will guide you to your next step and we can, if required, sign off any court form to verify your attendance at no extra charge.