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Sometimes legal language can be very confusing and very often our clients contact us requesting an explanation of what certain words means. To help you we have listed some key words with an explanation of what they mean.

MIAM: This stands for Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. The MIAM is confidential meeting with the mediator one to one were you both discuss your issues and find out what the best options are for you.

Applicant: This is the person who applies for the mediation or the person who issues the court application.

Respondent: This is the person who is responding to the application or the request for mediation.

ADR: This stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution. In essence this means trying to resolve your dispute before you go to court either through mediation, with solicitors or directly with each other.

Issuing Court Proceedings: This is when one person applies to court to have their case heard.

CAFCASS: Cafcass stands for the ‘Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service’.  Cafcass is independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies. Cafcass workers are specialist social workers who help the court by making safeguarding checks, helping parents consider solutions.

Child Arrangements Order: This is an order which will set out arrangements relating to (a) with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact, and (b) when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any other person.

Consent Order: When you have reached an agreement with the other parent, which resolves the dispute, the judge may agree to make that agreement into an order called a consent order.

Adjourn: Where the case, or a hearing, is directed to take place or continue at a later time.

Contact Centre: A place for a parent to see their child in a neutral and ‘safe’ environment. ‘Supervised’ contact centres provide a safe and neutral place for contact. ‘Supported’ contact centres, which are often run by volunteers, offer a neutral place for contact in cases where no safety concerns exist