Online Family Mediation
What is the difference between in-person and online mediation?
The main difference is commitment. In-person mediation requires more commitment by all the people involved. It means that you and your spouse or unmarried partner both decide to come in at the same time and share the same space (although sometimes not the same room, in high conflict). It means that you put everything else aside to focus on working out your difference. In online mediation is it much easier, less personal, to just shut your computer off. If that happens, it is much more difficult to find out what happened and to bring it around.
Online mediation makes it harder for us to pick up on non-verbal clues, body language, and energy. However, it does create a situation where each party involved in mediation has a chance to really look at each other. The forced face-to-face does create opportunities for transformation.
What platform do you use?
We use platforms such as ZOOM, Skype or WebEx to conduct our online sessions. Most popular among our clients is ZOOM. We use available features to ensure that no recording occurs and that there is access to private room sessions for caucusing with either party, when agreed to by both and when appropriate.
What is the process?
In either in-person or online mediation, we offer 30-minute free consultation with each party if separate or 1 hour if together. For online mediation, we usually receive a call or an email asking to set up an initial consultation. Pursuant to that request we set up a meeting online with either both parties or one at a time.
After the initial consultation, once the parties retain us (we send documents including the Mediation Agreement via email and take payments via PayPal), we set up the first session by creating a private meeting ID, which allows clients to have the same link for each session.
What is the typical length of an online mediation session?
Any part of the process can be discussed at the outset of mediation to fit the needs of the parties. Usually, however, online sessions are 2 hours long. In-person sessions are 3 hours long. Online environment makes us more tired because of the use of screens. It is also harder to pick up on any body language and non-verbal clues, as well as, energy/vibe.
Is online mediation confidential?
We make every effort to ensure that online meetings are scheduled using highest privacy settings. We encourage clients to use platform-specific passwords, i.e. not reusing passwords from other online accounts. We also discuss having other people in the room while in session, so that mediation participants know who is in the room. We also use separate breakout rooms if we have to break away into a caucus.
What are the benefits of online family mediation?
No driving is one obvious benefit. Clients save a lot of time by mediating their divorce or other family issues from the comfort of their office or home. Another not so obvious benefit is better contact with your ex-spouse or other party. In a ZOOM meeting, everyone is looking directly at each other without feeling unsafe, which promotes understanding and forward-movement. You can also invite others into the session with much more ease. Post-divorce family is often very complex with new spouses, partners, step-children, etc. Online session allows more people to participate, which often means quicker resolution and more practical comprehensive agreement. Sometimes, it is also easier to apologize online. Online divorce mediation allow us to negotiate a settlement when parties live far apart, or if work schedules do not allow parties to meet frequently. Mediators can mediate disputes across state lines and internationally using online videoconferencing.
What are the disadvantages of online family mediation?
We are social beings. Most of us like personal contact and face-to-face discussion. The online environment is not a common way of interacting especially between spouses. Some of us are just not used to is especially in the context of a divorce or other family issue. Not trusting each other and allowing others to secretly listen in without letting the other side know is a common worry. As your mediators, we emphasize the effects certain actions will have on the future success and durability of agreements reached in mediation. We make sure everyone understands what is at stake.
What is the cost of online family mediation?
We offer flat-fee services for all of our mediation services. See Mediation Packages for fees.
COVID-19 update: We understand that the safe-at-home orders, loss of employment, loss of childcare, homeschooling children, loss of social network, etc. cause a substantial amount of difficulty. We understand the trauma that we are all experiencing to a greater or lesser degree in these challenging times. We are here to help you resolve conflict with your spouse. We can help you facilitate conversations about finances, childcare or resolve disputes about COVID-19 visitation issues. If you want to start a divorce process now, we are here to help you mediate it.
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