Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
We hope that you will find the following information helpful, concerning the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM )
What is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM ) ?
This is a meeting between you and our Mediator to find out more about how Mediation might help you find solutions to your own particular family legal problems. The Government wishes to encourage families who turn to the law for help to first find out whether or not Mediation is suitable, and this will be your opportunity to be informed about how Mediation works, and to ask any questions of the Mediation which may be of a concern to you.
What happens at the Meeting?
Our Mediator will explain what happens in a Mediation session and will attempt to answer any questions you may have. It is the Mediator’s duty to form a view whether or not Mediation is suitable for your circumstances and will be of a positive help to you, and it will also be for you to decide whether or not you wish to proceed with Mediation.
Do you qualify for Legal Aid?
Our Mediator can assess with you to find out whether or not you are entitled to free Mediation, i.e. legal aid, to cover the assessment meeting and future mediation sessions. , To enable the Mediator to assess you for legal aid we ask you to bring the documents listed below. You can also check to see whether or not you would qualify for legal aid by checking on the following website :https://www.gov.uk/legal-aid
If you do not qualify for legal aid ie : free mediation then please note the cost of the assessment meeting and mediation on Our Fee . Please note that you will be asked to pay for your assessment meeting (MIAM ) when you arrive at the office.
PLEASE NOTE If the other party qualifies for legal aid mediation then you would also get the assessment meeting for free and from 3rd November 2014 both of you would get ONE joint mediation session for free. If one of you doesn’t qualify for legal aid the MIAM is charged at £90 + VAT, i.e. £108, per person.
What happens if I decide that I do not want to have Mediation?
There will be no pressure on you to choose Mediation if you decide that it is not suitable for you. At the end of the Assessment Meeting, if you and / or our Mediator decide that Mediation would not be helpful at the present time, mediation will not proceed.
What happens if one of us wants to have Mediation but the other does not?
Mediation can only work if both people involved are committed to resolve their differences in this way. In the circumstances that one person is unwilling to proceed with Mediation, we will respect that choice but always keep the door open to the possibility of Mediation taking place at a later date, if you both subsequently come to the mutual view that you would like to try the Mediation option.
In brief what are the benefits of Mediation?
There are 3 main benefits if couples can resolve their differences with Mediation;
If matters proceed through the Courts the cost of a case concerning the residence of or contact to children can be typically between £1,000 and £4,000 per person. Cases involving the resolution of financial matters can cost typically £3,000 – £6,000 per person. These costs can vary according to the complexity of your situation and the solicitor instructed.
· In your control
When you choose to resolve your matters through Mediation, you retain control of the time scale of your meetings.
In Mediation you will be discussing a range of ideas to enable you to carefully explore the options alongside each other, without reaching a legally binding agreement. If you settle on a proposal which appears to you to be fair to both of you and any children, we will help by putting the proposal in the form of a Summary, for you to discuss with your Solicitors, before they help you decide whether to make such proposals legally binding. We will also summarise the financial information you have been provided to help you to obtain advice from your solicitor.
We readily acknowledge that Mediation is not a “soft option”, as it can be difficult speaking with an estranged partner whom you may not have met for some time or sometimes a current partner whom you are experiencing difficulties. However, we hope that with the assistance of trained, impartial and experienced Mediator, you will be able to reach the best solutions for your family.
What happens if I want a form to apply to the court ( eg FM1 form , C100 form , Form A) ?
In some circumstances we understand mediation may be inappropriate and unfortunately court proceedings are necessary. This may be determined by you, a solicitor or a mediator.
In some other circumstances one party or both parties may decide mediation is not for them and would wish to apply to the court.
We appreciate if a court application (e.g. C100 form or Form A) is felt necessary by you and/or your legal representative then you require a mediator to complete part of a court application to say you have attended a MIAM. Once you have attended a MIAM the mediator can do this and this is included in the cost of the MIAM or covered by legal aid if one party qualifies.
PLEASE NOTE : once you have been provided with the form it is time limited for you to put in your application – the mediator will explain this to you at the MIAM.
FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEDIATION ASSESSMENT MEETING
Mediation is a voluntary process which is offered as an alternative to going to court.
At assessment meetings you will be asked some questions about your personal circumstances and we will consider with you whether or not mediation might be suitable for you and your former partner and the circumstances of your particular case.
The purpose is to explore mediation as a process that may or may not be suitable for you.
What does it cost?
Unless you or the other party are eligible for legal aid the cost for the assessment meeting will be charged at that meeting. The cost of the Assessment Meeting is £80 plus VAT, i.e. £96. You can either pay by cash, cheque or on debit/credit card. The mediator will discuss with you the costs that are likely to be incurred should you choose to participate in mediation thereafter and you are not eligible for legal aid.
What do you need to bring with you to the assessment meeting?
1. The documents below to assess for legal aid.
2. The ID on the attached.
3. The completed Mediation Information Form sent to you.
Do you need to attend with your former partner or other parties?
It will be assumed that you and your former partner would prefer separate meetings unless you tell us to the contrary You have a choice of attending the assessment meeting either separately or together.. If you do wish to attend jointly then we would ask that you contact ourselves to discuss this beforehand so that we can ensure that the facilities are available should you need to be seen separately from your former partner and if you are attending together then we would need to know prior to the meeting whether there have been any incidents of physical, emotional or sexual abuse between yourself and your former partner.
How long do the meetings take?
The initial assessment meeting (MAIM) would tend to take 45 minutes and can be arranged, changed or cancelled by telephone or email (or attending our office if you find this easier). Please give us at least 24 hours’ notice if you wish to cancel or change your appointment.
Can children attend?
We would ask that you note that due to the nature of the matters that will be discussed, it is not suitable for children to attend the meetings with you. Unfortunately we do not have crèche facilities at our office nor do we have the specific training to involve children in the mediation process. We would therefore be grateful if you would make necessary arrangements for childcare whilst you are attending the assessment meetings or indeed any future mediation session.
Can I bring someone with me to the MIAM or Mediation session?
We ask that you do not bring anyone else with you due to the confidential nature or the matters to be discussed. Also, the other party may very well object to other people’s involvement. Only if both parties consent and the mediator feels it is appropriate that someone else be involved would it be considered.
Our mediator, Daniel Priest, is trained by Resolution (formerly the Solicitors Family Law Association). He is also a Law Society Accredited Mediator. Daniel is also qualified to undertake Direct Consultation with Children. Resolution mediators are all practising lawyers, who have undergone an extensive mediation training programme and are subject to regulation by the Association. Resolution mediators work to a code of practice which follows internationally accepted principles. Our solicitors’ practice is also regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and indeed the Law Society. Daniel is a partner of Campions Solicitors. He is an experienced family solicitor and also a practising collaborative family lawyer.
What happens if I am not suitable for mediation?
The mediator will discuss this with you individually and also contact your solicitors to inform them of this.
Do I still need a Solicitor?
The mediator will confirm to you during the mediation session that it is important for all clients to continue to have access to legal advice throughout the mediation process. You should contact your solicitor if you need advice about any legal issues which arise during the mediation process or outside of mediation.
YOU MUST BRING THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS TO YOUR ASSESSMENT MEETING TO BE ASSESSED FOR LEGAL AID (PLEASE NOTE IF YOU HAVE NEW PARTNER LIVING WITH YOU WE WILL ALSO REQUIREB THE SAME INCOME DETAILS AND EVIDENCE FROM THEM . THEY WOULD ALSO HAVE TO SIGN THE LEGAL AID FORM BY ATTENDING OUR OFFICE BUT CAN NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE MIAM)
For both you and any partner with whom you live (this does not mean the other person in mediation) we require your proof of income including most recent payslips, (i.e. 1 month or if weekly paid the last four weeks).
(b) State Benefits
In the case of state benefits received this must be a letter from the Benefits Agency or Department of Work & Pensions confirming that the benefit is currently being paid. This must be dated no later than one month before the date of your appointment. If you are in receipt of Income Support, Income Based JSA or Income Based ESA we can phone the DWP when you come to our office.
(c) Tax Credits
In the case of tax credits, this must be the latest letter from HMRC which sets out details of the credits payable.
(d) If you are self-employed we require that you bring your up to date business accounts and your most recent tax return. If these are not available, a letter from your accountant setting out this information, i.e. details of your current earnings/cash book or recent bank statements. If your accounts are old please bring with you your working accounts showing evidence or drawings/ dividends.
Documentary evidence of savings and investments, e.g. bank statements and/or building society passbook, share certificates/National Savings, etc. for you and any partner with whom you live. These must be up to date.
3. Evidence of outgoings:
a) Evidence of your rent or mortgage costs paid this month- a bank statement showing this will be sufficient.
b) Evidence of child care costs – a receipt / invoice from the child care provider will be sufficient.