Adapting to a new reality. It is effective, comfortable and safe.
What are the benefits of online mediation?
As a New York attorney and mediator, I have been doing Divorce Mediations and Elder Care Mediations for more than 20 years. Whether it is a Divorce, Pre-Nuptial, Post-Divorce issue, or Elder Care Decision Conflicts with your siblings, you are not stuck without any recourse during this COVID-19 period.
As I have done for many years, I continue to offer remote, virtual or online mediations. The only difference for my practice right now, is that ALL my Mediations are online, instead of being able to give my clients choice of online or in-person. I am happy to report that my clients are actually emailing me letting me know how surprised that they feel so comfortable and advise that if they are going to opt to continue mediating online.
I have actually seen the benefits of online mediations for years. When you stop to think about it, what exactly is lost when discussing things virtually? What we need for good discussions is good eye contact, to see each other’s body language and very importantly, to be comfortable in the room, and all of that is possible whether the “room” is in person or a virtual setting. I have successfully resolved dozens of divorces and family conflicts online over the years, and it works really well! While some mediators only have online mediation practices, I prefer to give my clients a choice between in-person and online/remote mediations when we’re not restricted due to COVID-19.
Online mediation enables clients who are not in the same place, to resolve their matter without court.
I use Zoom for my mediations when one of the parties is unable to attend in-person. I am able to help my clients resolve their issues successfully and peacefully—and at a fraction of the cost of unnecessary litigation.
Parties do not have to be in the same room as one another and this is a relief.
Oftentimes, one or both of the parties are resistant to agree to mediation, not wanting to sit in the same room with the other person. Perhaps the person is afraid of a power imbalance. Perhaps they are too angry or upset. Perhaps they feel they cannot advocate for themselves while sitting in the same room. Well, the wonderful thing about online mediation, is that while the parties are able to see each other and interact, they are not physically in the same room. As my one client commented, “the buffer helps me feel more comfortable.” While she could see her spouse, she reported that she felt safer and calmer in her own space. This reaction is very common.
They are able to see their own faces which helps them see in the mirror!
This appears to help people control themselves and actually listen which is so critical in creating a good settlement.
They are able to stay more focused on the issues and their future objectives.
People cannot come to agreement when they are heated. Since the online setting enables them to better control themselves and have fewer heated arguments, they are able to stay focused on moving forward to create a just and peaceful resolution.
With online technology, I am able to share my screen with my clients so all can read the same document.
This ensures we are all on the same page and all is understood. I am also able to type things up in front of them at that time and/or mark up the document in front of my clients to review.
I can move the parties to separate online rooms.
As the Mediator, being able to see the parties’ faces and body language, I am capable of assessing the “temperature” in the room and to know when it is time to split up the parties into separate online rooms. I then speak with each individual privately, and when ready, I bring the parties together and we resume the joint session.
All of the above benefits of Online Mediation enable the Mediation to go along smoothly and result in an equitable resolution, for far less money, in far less time and with far less stress.
While online, virtual or remote mediation appears to be a new concept for many, for me, it is a tried and true method to help my clients leave their past behind and to look forward with less stress and less cost to resolve their conflicts with dignity and peace.