Online Mediation: How to ‘Zoom’ Your Way to Divorce
Mediation is More than Just a Virtual Reality
We often get asked if divorce mediation can work with busy schedules. And the answer is YES! Did you know that divorce mediation can be conducted anytime from anywhere? Keep reading to find out how…
What is Mediation?
Let's first talk about what mediation is. You may think of it as a process where you will be forced to talk about your problems and have decisions made for you and your soon to be ex. However, this is not the case! The true definition of mediation is a process where a neutral, third party assists to help resolve conflict. It is a structured, interactive process where you will be encouraged to actively participate.
With divorce mediation, this usually means a married couple sitting down in a room with the mediator. It's normally a face-to-face encounter. There may be a computer screen or whiteboard for notes. The meetings can take place during some "off-hours" but are typically held during the day on a weekday. For this to happen, the mediator needs to be local, and the office must be in an accessible place for both parties.
But wait, it's 2023! Isn't there a better way?
We all know that in today's fast-paced world the use of technology has never been more important and seems to be always evolving to make our lives easier. So, how does this help divorce mediation? With 24/7 access to computers and other devices, divorce mediation has become more convenient, easier, and quicker than using a traditional mediation process or going through a court system.
Here are the top 3 ways divorce mediation has improved with technology:
Online Mediation with Zoom or other Video Software
With the rise of technology and social distancing, divorce mediation can be done virtually with online sessions using Zoom, Skype or other video software. This allows for more flexibility in scheduling. With so many of us working from home, the traditional 9-5, Monday-Friday hours are no longer applicable. Online mediation sessions via video can be held during off-hours, like nights and weekends, without the inconvenience of having to travel to an office.
The use of technology also allows the session to be conducted from anywhere. This means you can choose a divorce mediator that best fits your needs and isn't necessarily local.
Zoom and other video software also allows the mediator to "share" the computer screen so you can see the agreement in real-time. Parenting plans, finances, and other documents can easily be discussed.
Online Mediation Makes Social Distancing Easy
And I am not just talking during the pandemic! For some couples, not being in the same room might be more comfortable and productive. They may feel more secure and able to be open and honest in their own space behind their computer screen. While most court appearances are in-person and face-to-face in the courtroom or require a witness testimony, online mediation does not.
Speeding up the Process
Another advantage to online mediation is the speed at which you can get a divorce or dissolution. Couples can have as few or as many meetings as they want or need and determine how quickly these are conducted. Based on what the couple prefers, they can finalize the agreement quickly.
Also, since you do not need a court appearance or judge approval for divorce mediation, it can be completed more quickly. There are circumstances where courts have completely shut down for a period of time, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even once the courts re-opened, they were focused on high-priority and emergency cases, and divorce cases were put on hold.
5 Things to Keep in Mind With Online Mediation
While online mediation over video has many benefits and advantages, there are some things to keep in mind. For a successful mediation session, you must be able to do the following:
- Actively participate in the session. Both you and your spouse must be on time and ready to talk with the mediator to discuss the situation.
- Be ready to receive suggestions and ideas from your spouse. Even though you're not in the same room, you both must give mutual respect and listen to thoughts or compromises in order to come to an agreement. You also need to be able to make decisions during the appointment.
- Be open and honest! While it might be difficult to share personal thoughts and feelings while not being in the same room, you must be ready to do so. Honesty is an important part of the mediation process.
- Be able to stay on camera. You must be ready and willing to use video and not be distracted by things going on around you.
- Trust in the mediator to guide you through the process. Because you can choose a mediator that is not in the same city or local to you, it has to be one that you trust if you want to come to an agreement and resolution. You must realize that mediators are professionals and have everyone's best interests in mind!
Ready to get started?
As you can see, technology has changed the way divorce mediation is defined and practiced. It can be quicker and more convenient than a court-ordered divorce.
If you want to get an online mediation started, need more information, or just have a question, please reach out. Our email is: [email protected]. We are here to help you!
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This post was written by Kelly Shaw. Kelly is a Mediator & Client Relationship Manager for Great Lakes Divorce Financial Solutions. As a Mediator, she specializes in divorce and parenting issues such as custody, visitation, schooling, and other major concerns or disputes. She received her training through a Supreme Court-certified family mediation class at the University of Akron. With Kelly's guidance, she can help you achieve a successful co-parenting relationship.
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