Frequently Asked Questions About A Mediation Certificate
“I’ve been told I need to get a mediation certificate before I can go to court – is that so and what actually is it?”
You may already have heard of the term ‘mediation certificate’ (or MIAM Certificate) or been told you need to get one in order to submit an application to court for any matter relating to family law, such as sorting your finances on divorce or separation; agreeing parenting arrangements for your children or if you want to see your grandchildren.
In this ultimate guide, we look at all your questions about a mediation certificate and if you are still stuck, you can always contact us to find the answer for your specific situation.
Q: What is a mediation certificate?
A: A mediation certificate is what is produced when mediation either breaks down or when you have attended a MIAM. Mediation is the Government’s and the court’s preferred method of dispute resolution when dealing with disputes that may arise as part of your divorce or separtaion. This shows the court that mediation has either been attempted; is not suitable for your case or has at least been considered as an alternative to court. The form produced is not actually a certificate. It is part of the court application that only an accredited family mediator can sign off.
Q: How long does it take to get a mediation certificate?
A: If you believe that mediation is not suitable you can ask for an Urgent MIAM. These cost just £199 and you can book in and have your signed mediation certificate delivered to your inbox or your solicitor within 24 hours.
Q: Are mediation certificates a requirement if I want to go to court?
A: Yes, in most cases, they are. When you fill in the C100 form or the Form A, there’s a page that needs to be completed by a family mediator. On the C100 form, it’s page number 9 and on the Form A, it’s page number 12. On both, you’ll find the following title: “4. Mediator certifies that the prospective applicant is exempt from attendance at Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), or confirms MIAM attendance”.
Q: Why do I need to have a mediation certificate?
A: The courts operate under the belief that intervening in people’s life is always the very last option. What Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) do is explain to people that there’s no other way to resolve the dispute at hand. In other words, they explain why court is not the only option. The purpose of MIAM is to learn if there’s any possible way of resolving the issue and to give people time so they can reflect and make an informed decision about whether going to court is the only possible option.
For more details about why you should consider mediation before court, take a look at our blog “Will it look bad if I refuse to go to mediation?”
Q: Who can issue a mediation certificate?
A: Mediation certificates are issued by accredited family mediators, who are allowed to sign the court form to get the certificate. You can check a mediator’s accreditation on the Family Mediation Council website.
Q: How much does it cost to get a mediation certificate?
A: The price of a mediation certificate will vary depending on the firm you’re working with. According to the Family Mediation Council, the average cost of mediation in the UK is £140 per person per hour. Mediate UK charge £199 for the Urgent MIAM and the signed certificate, in cases where mediation not required or suitable.
Q: I have a mediation certificate. What now?
For financial matters, you will need to complete a Form A.
You should take independent legal advice when completing either form and Mediate UK can offer this through our solicitors, including a written report of that advice, at a fixed fee here.
Q: What is the process to get a mediation certificate?
A: The process of getting a mediation certificate begins with a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The meeting can happen in person at one of our branches nationally, or online from anywhere in the world. It will take up to an hour of your time and during this meeting, you and your mediator will determine if mediation is appropriate for your situation or not.
If mediation isn’t appropriate, they will issue a mediation certificate right away. It can also be issued during the mediation process if you decide that mediation is not the way to go and you ask the mediator for the certificate
Q: How are mediation certificates issued?
A: Mediation certificates can be issued in different ways. The most common way to send it out is via email and you’ll receive it in PDF format. If you’re making a paper application you will have to print the certificate out. The mediation certificate can also be sent through the post in case you don’t have a computer or a printer. This doesn’t cost any extra.
In many cases, you can apply online for a Child Arrangement Order and in such cases, you need to enter the details on the form and take a hard copy with you to the court.
Q: Will my ex receive a copy of the mediation certificate?
A: No, not initially. They will see the details of the MIAM certificate on their copy of the court forms, which they will receive once you have filed the application with the court.
Q: What is written on a mediation certificate?
A: Mediation certificates have a ton of text, but whether they’re for the C100 form or the Form A, the certificates will have the same text. The mediator will have to tick the boxes that apply to your situation. For example:
- If you don’t want to proceed with mediation and you want to go to court without asking the other party involved, the mediator would have to tick the box that says: “The applicant has attended a MIAM alone, and the applicant does not wish to start or continue mediation”. If this is what you want to do, remember you will be asked to explain your choice in court.
- If the other party doesn’t respond to your mediation invitation or declines it, the mediator would have to tick the box that says: “The applicant has attended a MIAM alone and the respondent did not wish to attend a MIAM”.
- If the mediator decides that mediation is not appropriate based on the MIAM you had, they would have to tick the box that says: “The mediator has determined that mediation is unsuitable”.
- If the mediation between the two parties fail in the MIAM, the mediator would have to tick the box that says: “The mediation has started, but has: broken down; or concluded with some or all issues unresolved”, and choose between the options that best describe what happened.
There are many variations to the options we’ve just presented, but these are the most commonly used. If you don’t agree with what your mediator has ticked on the form, you should go back and check with them.
The certificate will not explain why the mediation is unsuitable, or what happened during the mediation in order for it to break down. The court are only interested in seeing that mediation has been considered, is deemed unsuitable or has taken place but not worked out.
Q: For how long is the mediation certificate valid?
A: The mediators add a date at the bottom of the mediation certificate and the document will be valid for 4 months from that date. So, if your certificate says 15 January 2021, you will have to submit your court application before May 15th 2021. If you take longer than that to make your application, it will be refused and you will have to schedule another MIAM to get a new mediation certificate.
These timescales are set by the court and not by the mediation service.
Q: Can I request a mediation certificate but still continue with mediation?
A: Yes, you can request a mediation certificate and continue your mediation. This is sometimes referred to as a two-pronged approach. The thinking behind this approach is that it takes 3 months or so to get the first hearing, so they don’t want to delay if mediation breaks down. Even before Covid, new cases were taking 3-4- month to be listed for a first hearing.
Therefore some people choose to file an application with the court whilst mediation is set up. If a resolution is reached, they can cancel the application with the court and if it breaks down they have not lost any time. Some people find having a date to work to can also help negotiations move forward. In such cases both parties should be aware that this is happening and the dates they are working to.
Q: What if my ex changes their mind about mediation but I already have the mediation certificate?
A: You can return to mediation at any moment without an issue. However, you have a 4-month window to do that because that’s how long the mediation certificate is good for. If you return to mediation after that period, you’ll have to get a new certificate signed off.
Q: How quickly can I get a mediation certificate?
A: Many clients have been booked in and got their certificate the same day. See our review below as an example of how we he can help clients in urgent situations:
Q: What is a Form FM1 and when is it used?
A: A Form FM1 was the generic term used for the certificate to show that a MIAM had taken place, back when they were first introduced in April 2011. Since then, the forms have developed and a FM1 form is only used for the following specific court applications
- A parental responsibility order or an order terminating parental responsibility
- An order appointing a child’s guardian or an order terminating the appointment
- An order giving permission to change a child’s surname or remove a child from the United Kingdom
- A special guardianship order or an order varying or discharging such an order
Some people working in family law still refer to all mediation certificates as an FM1, but this form is now only used in the above specific court applications.
Q: What do I do once I have the mediation certificate?
A: Once you have your mediation certificate, you will be able to apply to court with a C100 form or a Form A, depending on your situation. You don’t get the whole form completed by the mediator, just the relevant page. If you are filing a hard copy of the paperwork to court, you just need to insert the signed page in the relevant section. Remember you will need three copies of the application sent to the court.
If you are applying online, you just need to input the details from the form into the online application and take the hard copy with you, when you attend court.
Q: Why choose Mediate UK for my MIAM and mediation certificate?
A: Mediate UK are the top-rated family mediation service in England & Wales. 95% of our clients believe the service they received from our team of mediators to be outstanding.
All our mediators work for Mediate UK, meaning we can ensure the training and level of service is top notch – we don’t just offload your case to other services who we have no control over.
If you do decide to try mediation, we have a 90% success rate for clients going on to joint mediation. We have a process that we have developed over 10 years and that we know works in the majority of cases.
A mediation certificate is simply a page of a court form that is signed by an accredited family mediator to show that mediation has been considered, or has been attempted but has broken down.
In some cases, it may show that mediation is not suitable, because the family mediator has deemed it unsuitable for your specific situation.
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