Sweeping changes came in on the 22nd April 2014 to the family court system. The reforms have brought in the one unified Family Court in England and Wales, it introduces Child Arrangement Orders and makes it compulsory for a person to attend Mediation Information and Assessments Meetings.
There has been a requirement to attend MIAM’s since April 2011 but it now compulsory. Section 10(1) of the Children and Families Act 2014 requires a person to attend a MIAM before they make an application in private law proceedings in relation to children and in proceedings for a financial remedy. This new requirement applies not only to potential applicants but Practice Direction 3A make it clear that it applies to Respondents as well.
The consequence of not attending a MIAM’s and not qualifying for an exemption is that proceedings issued after the 22nd April 2014 without the FM1 form [version 2014] will be returned as unissued. Furthermore, under the transitional provisions, if proceedings were commenced before the 22nd April 2014 the court has the power to demand that the parties attend MIAM’s.
The new court application forms have sections which need to filled out by either the mediator or the Solicitor. It seems that the court will require the new forms with FM1 form before the court will accept the proceedings.
30th April 2014