Mediation and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)

Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are a number of the most common questions I am asked. To view the answer, click on the title or ‘plus’ symbol.

If you have a question that isn’t addressed below, you can email me at denise@pathwaymediation.com or call 07377 193223.

All appointments are on-line. You will need a tablet or phone and a reliable internet connection. If you do not have these, we can conduct the MIAM by phone, but video-link works better where possible. Full instructions will be provided. It’s easy. Even if you are not used to technology, I know from experience that you will manage well.

If you wish to be assessed for legal aid, you will need to provide evidence of your eligibility and complete the legal aid application form in advance of the meeting. All of this can be done electronically, and full information and instructions will be provided.

You will need a tablet or phone and a reliable internet connection. If you do not have these, we can conduct the MIAM by phone, but video-link works better where possible. Full instructions will be provided. It’s easy. Even if you are not used to technology, you will manage well.

You are welcome to have someone of your choice with you to support you during the MIAM.

Most people choose to attend the initial meeting (MIAM) individually so that they have private, stress-free time one-on-one with me to explore the issues and options, and whether mediation can help. The other party will only be in attendance if you specifically request a joint MIAM and both agree to this. Even in a joint MIAM, there will be some one-on-one time with me for each of you so that I can assess suitability and you have an opportunity for private questions.

It is now a legal requirement to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) before making a court application. There are limited exceptions, which are listed on the court application form. However, the mediation process itself is voluntary and you will not be penalised if mediation is unsuitable or you choose not to proceed.

Mediation is confidential throughout. Unless you both choose a joint initial meeting (MIAM), the MIAM will be conducted individually. Mediation is entirely voluntary. You will not be put under any pressure to proceed. No information is given to the other party, a court or anyone else, other than to confirm whether mediation can proceed. You will not be blamed or penalised by a court if mediation does not proceed.

Mediation is also legally privileged. This means discussions you have in mediation and any arrangements you propose or test out cannot be referred to in legal proceedings unless you both consent to disclosure of the information.

Mediators are trained to manage conflict, which is a normal part of relationship breakdown. However, concerns such as current child protection and domestic violence or certain financial issues may mean that mediation is unsuitable. The confidential initial meeting (MIAM) is a safe opportunity to discuss such concerns and explore the suitability of mediation.

Mediation can only go ahead if both of you want it to and either of you can stop it at any point. Mediators are impartial; this means they do not take sides and are there to support and help both of you. Mediators give information and explanations about legal principles, but they don’t give advice. You are encouraged to take legal advice alongside mediation to help you assess the options and where you seek to make outcomes legally binding.

Mediation is free if you qualify for Legal Aid. You will also receive some Legally Aided assistance if your ex-partner qualifies, even if you are not yourself eligible. Please see the fees page for more detail about costs. Mediation costs a fraction of going to court.

You will pay via iZettle secure card payment service. For the initial meeting (MIAM), you will be sent a secure one-off payment link that enables you to enter your own payment details, thereby ensuring the security of your card details. You will be asked to pay at least one-day in advance of the meeting.

For mediation sessions, you will be sent a payment link at the end of the session and will pay on the day of the meeting, just before the session concludes.

  • I will contact you within 2 working days of referral to arrange an appointment with you and answer any questions you may have (usually, it will be the same or the next day)
  • You will be offered an appointment for an initial meeting (MIAM) within 2 weeks of submitting the referral (usually much quicker).
  • If you decide to proceed, I can usually offer a first session within 10 working days of meeting you both. Mediation sessions are arranged and spaced out to suit your needs and convenience.
  • Child arrangements usually take 1 to 3 sessions. Property and finance or all issues mediation (children, property and finance) typically takes 3 to 5 sessions.
  • You decide the time-period between sessions. You may need to test out children arrangements, gather essential property and finance information (eg pension information) or space sessions for affordability, or you may wish to resolve things as quickly as possible. I am flexible and will go at your pace. Most mediations are concluded within 3 months.
  • I am a Family Mediation Council Accredited (FMCA) Family Mediator. FMCA Family Mediators are qualified to the highest standard and governed by FMC Codes of Practise. Comprehensive training, continuous professional development and regular professional supervision are requirements of membership.
  • I conduct legal aid work as part of the Compass Resolution network. Legal Aid work is strictly regulated by the Legal Aid Agency.
  • All mediators are required to hold membership of a professional association. My membership body is the Family Mediator’s Association (FMA), which holds the Help and Support for Separating Families quality mark. The mark is awarded following an independent assessment of organisations to show they meet a strict set of standards for promoting parents working together after relationship breakdown. Organisations need to show that they actively work to help parents collaborate constructively to arrange things for their children.
  • Should you be dissatisfied with the service you have received, I aim to discuss and resolve any concerns with you directly. My membership body, the Family Mediator Association, is responsible for investigating complaints that cannot be resolved between us and I am governed by their complaints procedure (available on request). For clients who have received some or all of my services under legal aid, I work in partnership with Compass Resolution Network and am governed by their complaints procedure (available on request).

Yes, all appointments and contact is done online, including the actual mediation session(s). Don’t worry about the technology either; you need only a phone or computer and an Internet connection. I have everything in place to support you, no matter how limited your technical skills.