Face to face mediation provides the best environment for emotional support and empathy. The mediator can observe and acknowledge the participants’ emotional states, providing reassurance, helping to ease tensions and foster a sense of community between the parties, aiding their communication and ultimately their ability to find mutually acceptable solutions.
Face-to-face mediation also allows spouses to include neutral financial experts, who can assist with filing affidavits, reviewing financial disclosure, and developing options for the division of 401(k)’s and other retirement assets, as well as business and pension valuations. Similarly, psychotherapists can be included in a couples mediation to help address the needs of the couple and their children.
In face to face mediation, it is possible to have meetings at the convenience of the parties. This is particularly relevant for those who might have childcare responsibilities or other commitments that prevent them from being able to attend a traditional face-to-face session. This flexibility also enables the process to take place without interruption, as opposed to being interrupted by unforeseen circumstances such as country lockdowns and the re-emergence of the CLOVID-19 virus.
It is also possible for the parties to meet at times that fit in with their own individual schedules, as opposed to being bound by office hours. This is especially important for those who have full-time employment and/or children to care for.
Lastly, it is possible for the mediator to use screen-sharing features to display documents and notes. This can be a very useful tool for those who are not as comfortable with technology and navigating virtual meetings, allowing them to focus on the material more easily and without distraction.
However, there are a number of drawbacks to online mediation. Firstly, it is difficult to build rapport without the physical presence of one another. This can be a challenge in remote meetings and is particularly difficult to overcome when the parties are not speaking directly to each other. In addition, it can be difficult for the mediator to accurately interpret what is being said, as information may be relayed via email or telephone rather than being typed in real time.
Overall, despite the challenges presented by online mediation, it remains the preferred method for many of our clients. It is an efficient, cost effective and convenient way for parties to reach a successful outcome to their conflict and move on with their lives. We are proud to provide this service, and our Professional Specialist Family Mediators remain committed to ensuring the quality of our work. If you are considering online mediation for your dispute, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to discuss this further with you.