Useful information about MIAMs or Form FM1
Been told you need a MIAM?
Have you been told by your solicitor that you need to arrange a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) or that you need a FM1 form before the solicitor can move forward with your case? If you are not sure what this entails, you may be understandably, feeling anxious about the process. We aim here to fully explain the process to help alleviate any worries that you may have.
Why are MIAMs Necessary?
The Government introduced legislation on the 6th April 2011 requiring anyone wishing to take a case to court in regard to certain family situations to have attended a MIAM. The reason for this is due to the view that family matters are often better resolved in mediation than in court proceedings, and as such the Government are keen to ensure that families, at the very least, try this method. You are not required, as a consequence of a MIAM to commit to resolve your case using mediation, you only need to show that you have considered it. However, you may find after attending your MIAM that mediation is the way forward, and this can be discussed and arranged during your meeting.
What happens at a MIAM?
The meeting can be attended by just yourself or you can attend with your former partner. If possible, it can be beneficial to attend the meeting together, although this is in no way necessary. If you wish, the mediator can make contact with your former partner to arrange attendance and discuss the purpose of the meeting with them. At the meeting the mediator will guide you through the process of mediation, discussing with you exactly what the process entails and how mediation may be beneficial in resolving your case. The mediator will also work through an assessment to determine whether mediation is a viable method of resolution in your case.
What happens after the MIAM?
After the MIAM has taken place both sides will be given the opportunity to consider whether mediation is a viable method of resolving issues. If mediation is an agreeable way forward for both parties then a series of meetings will be set up and attended until the mediator is in a position to draw up an agreement, to be signed by both parties. If, however, one or more of the party is not open to the mediation process and does not wish to proceed any further then the mediator will issue form FM1. This form is your proof that you have attended a MIAM and have considered mediation. The form will need to be issued in court if you wish to proceed with resolving your conflict in this way. Please note, that the mediator will only be able to issue form FM1 to those who have attended a MIAM, so even though you do not need to attend a meeting with your former partner it is not sufficient for only one side of the party to attend a meeting. The mediator may also, as part of their assessment not consider your case as being one that can be resolved through mediation and will, at that stage issue the form FM1.
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