Should I Go To Mediation About My Family Law Case?

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What is mediation?

Mediation is way of trying to resolve legal issues outside of the court process. In mediation, separated couples are helped to try and agree a resolution between them. A mediator will assist in this process. It can be helpful in avoiding conflict, but does not always succeed in resolving legal disputes. It also may not be appropriate, especially where there has been domestic abuse.

Do I have to go to mediation?

The government has recently been considering making mediation compulsory before beginning family law proceedings. However, at the moment the only possible requirement is to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting, known as a ‘MIAM’.

What is a MIAM?

A MIAM is a meeting to provide information about:

  1. Mediation of disputes of the kinds to which relevant family applications relate
  2. Ways in which disputes of those kinds may be resolved otherwise than through the court system
  3. The suitability of mediation for trying to resolve any dispute to which the particular application relates

Do I have to go to a MIAM?

Sometimes attending a MIAM is required. This may be the case for private law proceedings about children, or some financial remedy proceedings.

There are some situations in which you may not have to attend a MIAM including:

  1. There is evidence of domestic abuse in the relationship. In this event you will be expected to have evidence in one of the forms permitted
  2. The dispute is about a child under a local authority child protection plan, or the subject of urgent safeguarding investigation
  3. The application must be made urgently because there is risk to the person applying or a child
  4. There is a risk of unlawful removal of a child from the country
  5. Recent completion of a MIAM or another form of non-court dispute resolution

A specialist family lawyer can assist you with confirming whether you need to attend a MIAM and whether mediation may be helpful in your case. A specialist family lawyer can also advise on what you might realistically expect if you go to court, and negotiate on your behalf.

Here to Help

If you need advice on any family matter, please get in touch with Tracey Dargan, Partner and Head of Family and Divorce.

Please note the contents of this article are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.