It was recently Mediation Awareness Week and a wide variety of different types of mediation were promoted including divorce or family mediation.

Despite this, figures were also released showing that four out of five couples ignore divorce law with only one in five separating couples attending a compulsory mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM).

In April 2014, attendance at a MIAM became compulsory before a separating couple could apply for a court order for financial or child arrangements.  However, data from a freedom of information request to the Ministry of Justice shows only one-fifth of separating couples making court applications attend a MIAM first.

The aim of a MIAM is to give people the opportunity to consider a less confrontational alternative to court, and many attendees find this introduction a valuable entry point to mediation which focuses on former couples finding their own solutions, with the help of an impartial facilitator.

It’s understandable when receiving a request from a mediator, and faced with the prospect of trying to sort out a dispute with an ex-partner, to hope that the problem will go away. This can then mean that you refuse to consider mediation, however, a long protracted court battle can be financially costly and emotionally draining for everyone, especially for children.

You can attend the first meeting or MIAM jointly or alone and talk through your options with a qualified mediator; you can then be sure that you make the best decision for you and your family.

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