For those looking for a less adversarial approach to resolving their divorce, or custody and parenting matters, mediation offers a flexible and often cost-effective option. In many cases, it is also faster than going to court and can avoid the legal pitfalls that come with a contentious court battle. While traditional in-person mediation can be a worthwhile option, the benefits of family mediation online may make it an even better choice for some couples.
Online mediation sessions have the advantage of allowing participants to appear from their home or office, where they feel comfortable and safe. This alleviates some of the logistical challenges that can be associated with in-person meetings, including traffic, public transport and parking. It also reduces the need to request time off work, or negotiate childcare arrangements, for those involved.
While some technical glitches are to be expected during any type of virtual meeting, it is important that you understand and prepare for these in advance. For example, if your computer or internet connection are slow, you might experience issues with screen sharing. Depending on the severity of any issues, you might be able to find a solution on your own. Alternatively, you might need to ask your mediator for assistance.
Another issue to be aware of is the potential for emotions to escalate during a mediation session. If you and your ex are particularly emotional, it’s best to take a break from the discussion if necessary. Getting caught up in heated discussions can quickly derail any progress you’ve made during the session.
Unlike going to court, which is a public process, family mediation is private and confidential. This allows parties to discuss sensitive information about their finances and children in confidence, which can be difficult to do in a public setting. It can also give you the chance to go through full financial disclosure and business valuations.
While there are many reasons to try family mediation online, it’s not without its drawbacks. For some people, it might be more challenging to navigate the technology and could be a source of frustration or anxiety. If you are concerned about this, talk to your mediator before the session begins. They can explain the technology and offer tips to help you get comfortable with it.
Another concern is that online mediation sessions are not as effective if the individuals involved are not on the same page regarding what they want to resolve. For example, if you’re not sure about what kind of parenting or custody arrangement will be best for your situation, the system might give you answers that don’t fit well with your unique circumstances. This can lead to an agreement that’s unenforceable or doesn’t fully address the complexities of your case. In such cases, it’s best to opt for a shuttle mediation where you and your partner are in separate rooms while the mediator ‘shuttles’ between you to discuss different aspects of your situation. This can be a more personalised way of reaching an agreement and will help to safeguard your rights in the long run. family mediation online