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Form FM1 - Family Mediation and Assessment Form

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Published By
Published Date
January 01, 2018
Document Format

Family Mediation and Assessment Form

This form is only to be used when making an application to the court on form C1 or C2. Before completing this form please also read the leaflet ‘CB1 – Making an application – Children and the Family Courts’ and the leaflet CB7 - Guide for separated parents: children and the family courts

General information for completing this form

1. You need to complete this form and send it to thecourt with a completed application form C1 or C2if you want to ask the court to make an (or change
an existing) order about a child(ren) and yourapplication is for:

• A parental responsibility order (sections 4(1)(c),4ZA(1)(c) or 4A(1)(b) of the Children Act 1989)
or an order terminating parental responsibility (sections 4(2A), 4ZA(5) or 4A(3) of that Act).

• An order appointing a child’s guardian (section 5(1) of the Children Act 1989) or an orderterminating the appointment (section 6(7) of that Act).

• An order giving permission to change a child’s surname or remove a child from the United Kingdom (sections 13(1) or 14C of the Children Act 1989).

• A special guardianship order or an order varyingor discharging such an order (section 14D of the Children Act 1989).

Requirement to attend a Mediation, Information andAssessment Meeting

2. It is now a legal requirement that, unless an exemption applies, a person who wishes to apply to court for one or more of the orders listed at paragraph 1 of these notes must first attend aMediation, Information and Assessment Meetin(a MIAM). At the stage before proceedings the other
party (the respondent) is expected to attend either the same MIAM or a separate MIAM.

3. At the MIAM, a trained family mediator will give you (the applicant) and the other person if present (the respondent) information about family mediation and other types of non-court dispute resolution. They will consider with you whether non-court dispute resolution would be an appropriate way to
resolve the dispute. It is then for the applicant and respondent to decide whether or not to do so.

4. The requirement for the applicant to attend a MIAMdoes not apply if a Children Act 1989 order is being applied for and:

• the other person is in agreement about what you are asking the court to order (the order is a “consent order”); or
• there is an ongoing case about the child(ren) who would be the subject of the new Children Act 1989 application and that case concerns an emergency protection order, a supervision orderor a care order, or if one of those orders has previously been made.

5. You must tick the relevant box in Section 1 of thisform so that the court knows whether the MIAMrequirement applies, whether an exemption applied(and why) or whether you have attended a MIAM.

MIAM exemptions and MIAM attendance

6. As the applicant you are expected to have contacted an authorised family mediator in order to make arrangements to attend a MIAM unless :

• the MIAM requirement does not apply for one of the reasons explained at paragraph 4 of these notes, or
• you are claiming a MIAM exemption, or a family mediator certifies that a mediator’s exemption applies.

7. You can find an authorised family mediator by using the ‘Find your local mediator’ search facility available
at: www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk

8. You should give the mediator the contact details of the other person so that the family mediator can contact them to check their willingness to attend a MIAM. If the other persons (or none of the other persons if there is more than one respondent) is or
are unwilling to attend a MIAM, this is a ground for the family mediator to exempt you from attending a MIAM.

9. If you or your solicitor believe that you have grounds for claiming exemption from MIAM attendance youor your solicitor must tick the relevant box in Section 1 of this form and complete Section 2.

10. If a family mediator wishes to certify that a mediator’s exemption applies, so that you do not need to attend a MIAM, you must ask the family mediator to complete Section 4a of this form and sign it where shown.

11. If you have attended a MIAM you must ask the family mediator who conducted the MIAM to complete Section 4b of this form and sign it where shown.

12. If you claim a MIAM exemption and make an application to the court, the court will inquire into the grounds for exemption. The court may ask you to produce written evidence (see Section 2 of this form for details against each exemption shown).

13. If the court determines that the exemption was not validly claimed it may direct you, or you and the other party, to attend a MIAM and, if the case has already progressed to the first hearing, may adjourn the case to enable you to make arrangements to attend a MIAM.

14. The detailed procedure relating to the MIAM requirement and MIAM exemptions and attendance is set out in Part 3 of the Family Procedure Rules and in supporting Practice Direction 3A (judicial guidance). These are available online at:

Paying for MIAM attendance or for family mediation

15. Legal aid is available for MIAMs and for family mediation. If you are eligible for legal aid you could receive both the MIAM and mediation sessions free of charge, as well as some advice from a solicitor to support you in the mediation process.

16. If you, or the prospective respondent, is eligible for Legal Aid then the total cost of MIAM attendance can be met by the Legal Aid Agency, whether you and the prospective respondent attend the same MIAM or separate MIAMs.

17. If neither you nor the respective respondent is eligible for Legal Aid then the mediator will agree with you how the cost of MIAM attendance is to be met.

18. See paragraph 28 below on how to find out whether you are eligible for Legal Aid.

Safety and MIAM attendance

19. Please note: the family mediator will discuss with you and with the other person whether you wish to attend the MIAM separately or together. Family mediators have a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all concerned and will always checkwith each of you that attending together is your
individual choice and is safe.

Information about mediation

20. If suitable, mediation can be a better way of resolving issues about arrangements for children when you and your partner separate or divorce. Mediation can be less expensive than going to court and much less stressful for all the family. It can also help you asparents to focus on your child(ren)’s needs in making
decisions about them.

21. Family Mediation is an impartial process that involves an independent third person who assists both parties involved in a family dispute to reach aresolution. Family mediation can be used to settle any or all of the following issues:

• Arrangements for children
• Financial arrangements and dividing up
• Any combination of these
• Any other disputes to do with separation and

22. Family Mediation is not just for divorcing or separating couples – it is a means for resolving a range of family disputes, whether they arise from divorce or the separation of cohabiting parents.
Family Mediation could also help resolve issues with wider family members such as grandparents.

23. The family mediator helps the process of negotiation between the parties to agree their own arrangements by way of a Memorandum of Understanding. You can ask a solicitor, if you have one, to check the Memorandum of Understanding.

24. If both parties agree, you can ask the court to endorse what you have agreed by issuing a consent order. The mediator will help you to decide whether your case is complicated and does in fact need the court to consider your situation and make an order. The mediator should also tell you about other local
services and options for resolving your dispute.

25. A statutory Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is reserved for “authorised mediators” under the Family Procedure Rules. “Authorised family mediator” means a person identified by the Family Mediation Council asqualified to conduct a MIAM. “Qualified to conduct
a MIAM” is interpreted as holding current Family Mediation Council accreditation (FMCA). FMCA mediators are issued with a unique FMC registration number. Authorised mediators are requested to enter this number in the box provided.

Further information and sources of help

26. General information about family mediation is available from the Family Mediation Council website at: www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk

27. The family mediator who undertakes the MIAM for you must be a member of a national mediation organisation which adheres to the Family Mediation Council’s Code of Conduct and the mediator must be authorised to conduct MIAMs. The service finder will
help you find such a local mediator.

28. You can find out more about legal aid for family matters, including whether you may eligible for legal aid, on the Legal Aid Information Service on the Gov.UK site at: www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid or you can telephone the Civil Legal Advice direct helpline
0345 345 4345.

29. For general advice on separation services and options for resolving disputes: www.sortingoutseparation.org.uk

30. For general advice about sorting out arrangements for children, the use of post-separation mediation, and/or going to court: www.advicenow.org.uk; www.advicenow.org.uk/guides/survival-guidesorting-out-arrangements-your-children

31. For general advice about sorting out arrangements for children: www.theparentconnection.org.uk/

32. For advice about Contact Centres, which are neutral places where children of separated families can enjoy contact with their non-resident parents and sometimes other family members, in a comfortable and safe environment; and information about where they are: www.naccc.org.uk

33. For help with taking a case to court without a solicitor, the Personal Support Unit: www.thepsu.org/

34. For guidance on representing yourself at court, including a list of commonly used terms that you may come across: http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/using-abarrister/representing-yourself-in-court/

35. For advice about finding and using a family law solicitor see: Law Society www.lawsociety.org.uk, and Resolution (family law solicitors): www.resolution.org.uk

36. For advice about finding using a family law barrister: see http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/using-a-barrister/ find-a-barrister/ and for arrangements for using a barrister directly see http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/

37. Judicial guidance that sets out the approach of the courts to deciding child arrangements is available online at: www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedurerules/family/practice_directions/pd_part_12b
Online videos

38. There are several videos explain more about the mediation process, making your application, what will happen in court and will help you prepare for the hearing. To watch the videos visit www.bit.ly/guides_

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