Family Mediation for Child Access in Coventry

Family Mediation Questions – In the realm of dispute resolution, mediation stands out as a powerful tool to resolve conflicts amicably without the need for lengthy and often contentious court proceedings. At the heart of the mediation process in the UK is the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This blog post aims to demystify MIAMs, shedding light on their purpose, procedure, and benefits.

What is a MIAM?

A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is a preliminary meeting between an individual considering legal action and a qualified mediator. The primary aim of a MIAM is to assess whether mediation could be a suitable option for resolving the dispute, rather than immediately resorting to the court system.

MIAMs became a mandatory step in family law cases in April 2014, as part of efforts to encourage alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods. However, MIAMs are not exclusively for family law; they can be beneficial in various types of disputes, including commercial, workplace, and community conflicts.

Purpose of a MIAM

The MIAM serves several important purposes:

  1. Information Provision: It provides the disputing parties with essential information about the mediation process, including its principles, procedures, and potential benefits.
  2. Assessment: The mediator assesses the nature of the dispute and evaluates whether it is suitable for mediation. Not all cases are appropriate for mediation, particularly those involving domestic abuse or other power imbalances.
  3. Encouragement: It encourages parties to consider mediation as a viable alternative to court proceedings. The mediator will explain how mediation can be a more flexible, cost-effective, and less adversarial way to resolve disputes.
  4. Preparation: If both parties agree to proceed with mediation, the MIAM helps set the stage for a smoother mediation process by identifying key issues and preparing the participants for what to expect.

What Happens During a MIAM?

A MIAM typically lasts around 45 minutes to an hour and can be attended individually or jointly with the other party involved in the dispute. Here’s what you can expect during the meeting:

  1. Introduction: The mediator introduces themselves and explains their role as an impartial facilitator who does not take sides or make decisions for the parties.
  2. Information Sharing: The mediator provides detailed information about the mediation process, its benefits, and how it differs from court proceedings.
  3. Discussion: The mediator will ask questions to understand the background of the dispute and the issues at hand. This discussion helps assess whether mediation is appropriate.
  4. Assessment: Based on the information gathered, the mediator will give an impartial assessment of whether mediation is suitable for the case.
  5. Next Steps: If both parties agree to mediation, the mediator will outline the next steps, including scheduling mediation sessions. If mediation is deemed unsuitable, the mediator will explain alternative options.

Benefits of MIAMs and Mediation

1. Cost-Effective

Mediation is generally less expensive than going to court. The costs of a MIAM and subsequent mediation sessions are typically lower than legal fees and court costs, making it an attractive option for many.

2. Time-Saving

Court proceedings can be lengthy and drawn out, often taking months or even years to reach a resolution. Mediation, on the other hand, can be scheduled quickly and concluded in a matter of weeks, providing a more timely resolution.

3. Confidentiality

Mediation sessions are private and confidential, unlike court cases, which are usually public. This confidentiality can provide peace of mind and protect sensitive information.

4. Control and Flexibility

In mediation, the parties retain control over the outcome. They work together to reach a mutually acceptable agreement, rather than having a decision imposed by a judge. This collaborative approach often results in more creative and flexible solutions.

5. Preserving Relationships

Because mediation is less adversarial than court proceedings, it can help preserve relationships, which is particularly important in family disputes, business partnerships, and community conflicts.

When is MIAM Attendance Mandatory?

In family law cases, attending a MIAM is generally mandatory before you can apply to the court regarding child arrangements, financial matters, or other family disputes. However, there are certain exceptions to this requirement, including:

  • Cases involving domestic violence
  • Situations where there is a risk of harm to a child
  • Instances where the dispute is extremely urgent
  • Cases where one party is bankrupt
  • When the parties have already attempted mediation in the past four months

If any of these exceptions apply, you may not need to attend a MIAM, but it’s advisable to seek legal advice to confirm your specific circumstances.

How to Prepare for a MIAM

Preparing for a MIAM involves a few straightforward steps:

  1. Documentation: Bring any relevant documents related to the dispute, such as court orders, correspondence, financial statements, or other pertinent information.
  2. Questions: Prepare a list of questions or concerns you may have about the mediation process. This is your opportunity to gather as much information as possible.
  3. Open Mind: Approach the meeting with an open mind and a willingness to consider mediation as a viable option for resolving the dispute.
  4. Legal Advice: While mediators cannot provide legal advice, it may be helpful to seek independent legal advice before attending the MIAM to understand your rights and options.


Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) play a crucial role in the dispute resolution process, offering an opportunity to explore mediation as a constructive alternative to court proceedings. By providing information, assessing suitability, and encouraging participation, MIAMs help pave the way for amicable and efficient dispute resolution.

Understanding the purpose and process of MIAMs can empower individuals and organisations to make informed decisions about resolving conflicts. Whether it’s a family dispute, workplace conflict, or commercial disagreement, mediation offers a path to resolution that prioritises collaboration, flexibility, and mutual satisfaction.

If you’re facing a dispute and considering your options, attending a MIAM could be the first step towards finding a solution that works for everyone involved. Embrace the opportunity to explore mediation and discover the benefits of a more harmonious approach to conflict resolution.

By embracing mediation, we can transform the way we navigate disputes, fostering a culture of collaboration and understanding. To learn more about MIAMs and the mediation process, or to schedule a MIAM, contact [Your Mediation Service] today. Together, we can find a better way forward.