Does the new normal mean online mediation for me?

14th May 2020

Although it is widely anticipated that the British Government will gradually ease the lock down restrictions in the next few weeks, it is likely that there will continue to be restrictions on people visiting and working from offices for many months to come. In addition, people will be much more cautious about meeting people face to face if there can be an online equivalent.

However, can online mediation ever be said to be as effective?

Obviously, there are some objections and concerns about online family mediation which may amplify worries or anxieties that you already have about mediating with a former partner.

The disadvantages of online mediation are that it is much harder to judge the mood in the room of an online mediation and there can be a delay in the interactions which mean that mediations do not flow as easily.

Advantages of online family mediation

A reduction in the emotion and the distancing (with you often in your own home) can be an advantage to online family mediation, over and above face to face mediation in addition, protocols can be agreed at the beginning about allowing people to finish speaking or indicating, via the chat room, that you wish to answer.

Also, via a break out room, you can speak individually to the mediator if this is necessary and, of course, MIAMs will continue to be one to one on a private and confidential basis.

Documents can be shared and on Zoom it is possible to put up a white board where you can share creative documents and do calculations there and then.  The settlement rate for online mediation is much the same as for face to face mediations and the beauty of online mediation is that it can be scheduled for convenient times.

It is also easier to take a break if, for example, you have caring responsibilities which mean that you wish to reconvene later on in the day.  It can be more responsive to personal arrangements.

If you are in a difficult situation and feel that no progress can be made in the current COVID-19 crisis then do speak to the one of the mediators at Blake Morgan who should be able to reassure you.  In online mediation it is only the context that is different, not the process.

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