If you are starting out on your divorce process then you may be required to attend a MIAM. MIAM stands for mediation information and assessment meeting and is designed to encourage more couples down the route of mediation, rather than going through the courts.
A MIAM will take approximately 45 minutes and both parties will sit down with a mediator to determine whether or not mediation is right for them. Mediation is more cost effective and less stressful than going to court and the government wants more couples to choose this route, to ease the pressure on the court system.
During a MIAM a mediator will assess the couple and find out what the best option for them is. Mediation is not a suitable option for all couples, but before a divorce case can go through the courts the MIAM must take place, apart from a few exceptions.
For a divorce to proceed in the courts the judge must see evidence that mediation has been considered. This is provided by the mediator at the MIAM.
Couples may be exempt from a MIAM for various reasons including, if domestic violence or abuse is suspected or violence is feared then the couple can go straight to court. If one party can not be located, then there is no need for a MIAM. Or, if both parties are happy to go straight to mediation.
If a mediator decides that mediation is the best option then during the MIAM they will brief the couple on how to go about the mediation process, what to expect and what the next steps are. If the mediator decides that court is the best option, then they can provide evidence that mediation was considered and the divorce can continue.