You are currently viewing Meetings for information and assessment on mediation (MIAMS)

Meetings for information and assessment on mediation (MIAMS)

Since April 2014, people contemplating court proceedings in most family cases have been required to attend an initial meeting with a mediator, known as a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, or MIAM. Before the court issue an application, a certificate of attendance at a MIAM must be presented to the court staff. What happens at a MIAM, on the other hand?

For the MIAM, most mediators see the couple separately, so don’t expect your spouse/partner to be there. The mediator will provide the client with a wealth of information about the principles of mediation and the procedure, allowing the client to decide whether or not to try mediation. Because it is a fundamental principle of mediation that it is voluntary, clients have complete freedom in determining whether mediation is right for them.

The MIAM also provides an opportunity for the mediator to gather relevant information from the client to determine whether the case is appropriate for mediation. For example, the mediator will inquire whether there are any domestic violence or child protection concerns. The mediator must also consider whether the parties are emotionally prepared for mediation and whether any power imbalances must be addressed.

The mediator will want to know what the couple hopes to achieve through mediation and anticipate the most difficult challenges.

Family mediation is often a faster, less expensive, and more appropriate way to resolve family law issues than the traditional court process, but it is not for everyone. Moreover, it is a difficult option that will only work if both parties are committed to the process.

A mediator must meet with the couple separately so that people feel free to speak openly about sensitive issues such as fears of violence or intimidation.

People frequently come to the MIAM convinced that mediation will not work, but after hearing more about it, they see the potential benefits and are willing to give it a try. In contrast, some people come to the MIAM adamant that they want to mediate because they have heard that it is faster and less expensive, even though mediation is not appropriate.