National family Mediation Service is a process whereby you can reach agreement on arrangements following your divorce or separation through a process of discussion and sensible communication.
Using a trained accredited mediator, you will be able to talk to your former partner and come to a written agreement on arrangements regarding childcare, finances and other arrangements.
The process takes place behind closed doors, and not in a public forum such as a court. The discussions which take place during mediation are not revealed to third parties, and the mediator will not disclose those discussions.
If your relationship has come to an end then you will need to attend MIAMS (Mediation Information and Assessment meetings) to start the mediation process. These meetings are designed to help you to sort out any outstanding issues around financial matters, or childcare procedures.
In 2011 there was a change in the law to make attending MIAMS meeting much less bureaucratic, and meaning that it is virtually essential to attend these meetings. The government considered that this would be cheaper for families and also would be easier. The law changed again in 2014 which made MIAMS, in the majority of cases, a statutory obligation before you attend court. There are, however, exceptions to this rule which we can inform you about. We must stress that such exceptions are rare.
The way that things stand at the moment, before you attend court you are required to attend a MIAMS meeting. It is possible, if MIAMS does not work in terms of a joint meeting, to hold single meetings with each partner. At the MIAMS a trained mediator will give you information as to what mediation involves and assess if your case is suitable one to go through mediation. The mediator will also then be able to conduct your mediation meetings.
For all family related court applications a mediator must by the first thing you do. No court form can be submitted without the signature of an accredited family mediator. This form/certificate will give a court the specific reason why mediation is not to go ahead.