If you are going through a break-up or divorce and are struggling to come to an agreement with your partner as to how you are going to split your finances, assets and arrangements to see your children, you may be tempted to serve the court papers and get a final and definite decision from a judge. However, it is a legal requirement that before you do so you attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting.
Judges are increasingly supposed to check to see that couples have done all they can to try and reach an agreement between themselves before going to court, as conducting a court case is a very expensive and time-consuming business. The mediation process is an important part of trying to come to an agreement outside of court and the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting is the first part of this process. In the initial meeting, a mediator will discuss the situation with you and see whether or not mediation could be used to help resolve your issues.
Legally, a court is not supposed to proceed with your application for a hearing to resolve a family law dispute until they know that mediation has been considered. If the mediator judges that mediation would be a good move for your particular situation, it is highly recommended that you go through with it. If a judge sees that one partner has rejected mediation and has decided to go straight to court, the final judgement could be affected for the reasons already listed above.
Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting – what does it involve?
In your MIAM meeting, the mediator will explain your options, tell you a little more about what mediation is and how the process works, explain to you the benefits of mediation as well as explaining some other ways in which you could resolve your dispute, go through the costs of the mediation sessions and will also assess whether or not you are eligible for Legal Aid or free mediation.
Your MIAM – separate or together?
You do not need to be in the same room as your ex-partner if you do not wish to; the session can be conducted one-on-one between the mediator and each partner alternately. The meeting will usually last for around forty-five minutes and will be a non-intrusive assessment used to help you decide whether or not mediation might be able to help you. If it will, the mediator will arrange sessions through which you can discuss the details in more depth and help move towards a resolution which suits everybody. If not, the mediator will sign a form which shows that you have attended the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting, which will allow you to issue proceedings through the court, showing that you have tried to settle the matter outside of the court but that the mediator judged this impossible.
Overall, mediation is a positive way to move forward and can be a far less expensive and upsetting way of resolving your divorce dispute. With it, you will be able to move on and begin a new era in your life free of the emotional baggage of an impending divorce.
For a MIAM meeting in a town near to you, call our specialist Family Mediation team today
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