Here are some things to consider when setting up online mediation services:
1. Your location and your room set-up
Consider your location during the meeting and what’s on display behind you. Try to position your webcam, laptop or tablet in a way so that the mediator can see you and ensure a window or desk light is in front of you (ideally not behind as it can be difficult to see you).
2. Your responsibilities
Think ahead about childcare and your caring responsibilities during meetings. Ideally, you would be free from interruptions so that you can concentrate during meetings. If you anticipate being disturbed, it is helpful to let the mediator know at the beginning. Meetings are confidential and it’s important you cannot be overhead. Using headphones can help to reduce the noise in your room. Remember that third parties are not permitted to be present in your room during the meeting.
3. Your comfort
Think about your comfort during meetings. I’d usually provide a hot beverage and water for meetings in person and have a box of tissues nearby.
4. Be organised
Test your audio, check your internet connection, and battery levels of your device beforehand. Also, have your charger nearby just in case. Have a pen and paper nearby to jot any notes or comments down. The mediator makes notes during the session and sends a progress report after each meeting so you don’t need to worry about making notes.
5. Give yourself some time before and after sessions online
Ensure you have time to prepare before meetings start and give yourself some time to decompress after the meeting. When attending meetings in person, we have ‘transitional’ travelling time to mentally prepare ourselves, and equally, time to decompress when driving back home or to your office. It’s tempting to go from one meeting to another when working online!
Mediating online is a convenient way for separating and divorcing couples to communicate in the presence of a neutral third person who does not take sides. The mediator provides the structure and encourages the couple to work towards a timetable together, checking in with the couple along the way. Couples find this support useful as it can be tempting to put off tasks, let matters drift and avoid having some difficult conversations.
If you have any questions about divorce or co-parent mediation online, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07510711453.