Since 22nd April 2014 it is now a legal requirement that those who want to take a  family case to court have to attend a MIAMS meeting first – this applies if it involves children or financial issues after divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership.

There are some exceptions to this requirement and in some cases, you won’t have to attend a MIAMS meeting. The key exceptions are as follows:

Where there is evidence of Domestic Violence;
Where there are Child Protection concerns;
If there is urgency (risk to life, liberty or physical safety and if any delay would cause risk of harm to a child);
Where there has been a previous MIAMS attendance (in 4 months prior to making the application).

Although some may disagree, ASM Plus’s view is that this requirement gives disputing couples a golden opportunity to try and see whether they can use mediation to resolve any issues concerning children or finances. They may well find themselves agreeing about things they never thought they would agree about and saving money into the bargain. It is to be hoped that all lawyers take the MIAMS requirement on board, apply it correctly and do not just pay lip service to it.

​​Austin Chessell of ASM Plusd is trained to help disputing couples discuss and possibly resolve their differences in a safe, confidential environment and to look at the available options without going to court. Going to court is a lengthy, unpredictable and very expensive process. In our view you are more likely to see a  fair “return” if you go to mediation.