18th Mar 2024

What is a MIAM? Introducing FLiP’s MIAM Booklet: Choosing the Path

By James Pirrie

What is a MIAM? Introducing FLiP’s MIAM Booklet

 

In this blog, FLiP Director James Pirrie and author of “Choosing the Path” explains what a MIAM is and how our booklet acts as a guide to help prepare for a MIAM meeting.

A MIAM serves many purposes – but reduced to its essentials, it is generally:

  • Either a final review:  the last chance for the person preparing to start [most sorts of] family law proceedings to step off the long road to court;
  • Or the first step: towards the safe space of mediation where you are aiming to work out the look of the future usually with your former partner/co-parent (but mediation is a wide umbrella and can be used to achieve progress in all sorts of family situations).

Here:

  • The first might be thought of as a MIAM (mediation intake and assessment meeting) or “part 3” requirement (referring to the part of the Family Procedure Rules that lays down the requirements for attending this meeting before issuing proceedings).
  • The second might be thought of more as an intake meeting, your confidential conversation with your mediator when you can properly lay out your worries and gather a sense of whether this is a professional who “gets” you and who has the skills to help you move forward safely towards the better future you seek.

There are some situations where it is a case of “both”:

  • A person might be reaching out for court because they do not trust their former partner to engage realistically in the search for solutions and are conscious of the long wait for court dates.
  • Here, they seek the part 3 certificate to get the court process underway, but continue in mediation in the hope and expectation that before steps are required within the court process that a solution will be emerging around the mediation table that they can take back to their legal team for approval and conversion (where appropriate) into a court order.

This recognises that court can be two things:

  • Either a decision that the situation needs the imposed decision in line with the law that is delivered by the judge;
  • Or more simply it is the timetabling that is sought: the imperative to engage because otherwise the court process will unroll regardless (and to the detriment of any whose head is firmly in the sand).

The expectation is that the work in this first meeting will be completed in an hour.  There is a significant body of work to manage in that time.

To help, FLiP has developed a booklet, which covers off the main elements of the discussion:

  • Either for you to pre-read so that you can focus the meeting itself on aspects of particular concern to you;
  • Or for you to follow up on after the meeting, so that you can more fully reflect on the perspectives of the meeting;
  • There are other clients who like to use the information as an agenda for the meeting itself, getting an introduction to the elements that they need to know about before making final decisions on how to find the best ways for moving forward.

The booklet covers off:

  • Mediation basics
  • Tips for being cost effective
  • What a “tickbox MIAM” is known as
  • The requirements
  • The firm’s task and responsibility
  • Exemptions to confidentiality
  • Impacts of separation on children
  • Child inclusive mediation
  • Financial disclosure
  • Agreed next steps
  • A list of helpful resources

You can access the booklet here and the accompanying questionnaire here.

We hope you find the booklet helpful and any feedback on the same is gladly received.

If you have any questions concerning MIAMs, our booklet or perhaps mediation in general, please contact James Pirrie in the first instance on:

T: 020 7420 5000

E: jp@flip.co.uk