I’ve been told I have to ‘do mediation’ before I can go to court – is this correct?

Before making an application to court relating to child or financial issues, there is a legal requirement that you attend a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (known as a MIAM). The idea is that 'considering mediation' as an option is a good thing. The MIAM must be with a family mediator accredited by the Family Mediation Council, which we are. At the MIAM you and the mediator will discuss your situation and the issues arising. Part of the meeting is used to assess whether mediation might be a suitable forum in which to help move matters forwards.

If at the end of the meeting you do not wish to take the mediation process further, the mediator will, upon request, supply you with a form to prove that you have attended the MIAM. This is often referred to as the MIAM Certificate.

There is currently no legal obligation for people to actually mediate, but upon receiving your court application and at a first hearing the court will consider whether mediation might be a helpful step to take and may encourage you to do so. Presently, it is only the person making the application to court (usually known as the 'applicant') who has to attend a MIAM.