No, you do NOT have to engage in mediation as it is voluntary.
However, the law brought about by the Government now means that most people in England and Wales who want to use the courts to sort out a family issue after separating must show first that they have attended a Mediation and Assessment Meeting (known as a MIAM) before they can apply for a court order.
At this Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, the mediator will explain to you all about the mediation process. You can discuss your case, situation and ask any questions you may have as part of a general discussion with the mediator to mutually consider if mediation may be of some use to you and your family and if so to discuss how to make arrangements to progress mediation. As part of this discussion, the mediator will explain to you the other options open to you to deal with your situation, apart from mediation, and how they can differ in terms of time, costs and stress. We definitely will not try to force you to try mediation. But you will be better aware of the options open you. If you think mediation may assist, then we can check on your behalf if your ex-partner is willing to come to mediation by carrying out what is known as a “willingness test”. This test involves us contacting your partner by letter, email or phone to see if they are prepared to mediate.
If you do not wish to progress any further with family mediation then the mediator will provide you with a court form confirming that you have had a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting which you will need to produce to the Court when you start court proceedings. This form lasts for 4 months and covers court proceedings started within that time.
If you are interested in arranging a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) then please have a look at our information here. When you arrange your MIAM with us, we take it as your agreement to these terms.
To proceed with arranging your MIAM, then please contact us by phone on 07948189346 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can explain the process more fully to you, together with the details of arranging payment which we request is made before booking the mediator.