The Family Mediation Council has endorsed a set of documents governing mediators’ conduct of Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) that came into effect on 1 October 2022.
MIAMs must now be undertaken separately and not offered on a joint basis in a uniform and concise manner with the expectation that the session will last a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes.
At this first separate meeting, the mediator will provide a detailed explanation of the key principles of mediation and explain how family mediation works in practice. Additional dispute resolution options will also be explored such as arbitration, private FDR (financial dispute resolution) meetings and child inclusive mediation.
A main component of the MIAM is to understand what issues need to be resolved, gathering of key information from the participants and carrying out a risk assessment to ensure that it is safe and appropriate to mediate.
On the 6th of April 2011, the Government issued a pre action protocol that required anyone wishing to issue an application in the family courts in the UK to attend MIAM. There are exceptions where there is evidence of domestic violence or child protection issues/welfare concerns, in which case exemptions will apply.
The MIAMs Standards and Guidance documents (see links below) provide a clear prescriptive framework, within which experienced mediators can use their professional judgement to meet the needs of the Assurance Processes (link below) for Mediation and MIAMs.
The MIAM standards have been developed on behalf of the mediation profession by the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) through its MIAMs Working Group. They have worked extremely hard and tirelessly to develop these documents. It is anticipated that with these new standards and governance in place, there will be greater confidence in the mediation profession and that there will be consistency in delivering a high level of service nationwide.
At the end of the MIAM, participants must leave the session with a full knowledge of the core principles of family mediation, how it works in practice as well as other relevant dispute resolution options.
Mediators must share additional tools and resources on a bespoke basis to support participants through their separation and/or divorce journey depending on their individual needs and circumstances as well as to make clear what steps are to be taken next depending on the outcome of their assessment.
The documents below codify core principles and best practice that are generally agreed throughout the profession into a coherent format that is a model for the FMSB’s continuing development of professional standards.
The documents can be found here:
If you are curious about how holistic family mediation can help support you and your family through separation and/or divorce, you may wish to consider our FAQs page and/or book in a Free Discovery Call via our services page.
We will then get in touch with your ex-partner (unless requested to hold-off at this stage) to encourage them to engage in the process highlighting the benefits of family mediation - low cost, staying in control and to have a quicker resolution compared to court based proceedings.