If you want to take your case to court it is now – in most cases – a legal requirement to attend a Meditation Information and Assessment meeting (MIAM). The other person involved is also expected to attend a MIAM, but they don’t have to go to the same meeting as you.
You will not be expected to attend a MIAM if any of the following apply to your situation:
- You, or the other party, has made an allegation of domestic violence against the other supported by clear evidence, for example either a police investigation took place or an injunction was issued.
- The application you want to make to the court relates to other family law matters which you are currently involved in.
- An application to the court needs to be made urgently because there is a risk to the life or safety of the person who is making the application (the applicant) or his or her family (for example, their children) or his or her home.
- The dispute is about money and you or your husband, wife or civil partner (the respondent) is bankrupt.
- You and your husband, wife or civil partner are in agreement and there is no dispute.
- You do not know where your husband, wife or civil partner is.
- You wish to make an application to the court but for certain reasons you don’t want to tell your husband, wife or civil partner in advance.
- You are currently involved with social services because there are concerns about the safety and wellbeing of your child or children.
- You can’t find a mediator within 15 miles of where you live, or you have contacted three mediators based within 15 miles of where you live and you are unable to get an appointment with any of them within 15 working days.
- You or your partner cannot access a mediator’s office because one of you has a disability. However, if the authorised mediator can provide the appropriate facilities then you will both still be required to attend the meeting.
- A mediator shows on the court form that mediation isn’t suitable, for example the other person isn’t willing to attend a MIAM.
- In the past four months you’ve tried mediation but it hasn’t been successful. A mediator has to confirm this and state that mediation is not the best way for you to resolve your dispute.
- You or your partner do not normally live in either England or Wales and therefore cannot be considered as “habitually resident“.
There may of course be other particular exemptions that apply to you. Before going to court, an application form has to be completed which sets out all the possible exemptions. A mediator will go through this with you and determine whether an exemption applies to your particular case.