Since the law changed on 22 April 2014, most divorcing and separating couples in England and Wales who want to use the court process to resolve any questions about children or money have to show that they have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they can apply for a court order. The two people will usually be invited to separate private meetings.The applicant (the person asking the court to get involved) will almost always have to go to the meeting. The other person is expected to go, but does not have to unless the court says this must happen.
This new requirement was introduced because the government and the courts believe that mediation and other forms of dispute resolution can help many more families resolve their differences in a constructive way. Alternatives to going to court – including mediation, collaborative family law and arbitration – are often quicker, cheaper and less confrontational than the traditional court process. Below are some of the questions that the FMA frequently gets asked about MIAMs; click on the question to see the answer.