People in disagreement over child contact, usually need to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they can ask a court to make an order.

Usually, you cannot start court proceedings to decide on child contact arrangements unless you have attended a Mediation Assessment Information Meeting (MIAM) and have a form signed by a qualified Mediator. This is because the court want to know that Mediation has been considered before they will accept an application. Mediation is usually an easier and cheaper way to agree on child contact arrangements than going to court. However, it isn’t right for everyone.

You do not need to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) if there has been domestic abuse and you have evidence of the abuse. This could include a letter from a professional such as your GP or domestic abuse worker, or a copy of a protective court order, such as a non-molestation. If you can’t get a letter or evidence, you can go to the MIAM and tell the Mediator that Mediation isn’t right for you.

A MIAM is a 45-minute meeting between you and the mediator, the other person doesn’t need to be there. The purpose of the meeting is to explain how Mediation works and to assess whether Mediation is right for you. They should also explain what the estimated costs of mediation would be and whether you would be eligible for some financial help in the form of Legal Aid support.

Step 2: Application to court to settle issues over child contact