The purpose of mediation during divorce or separation is to aid communication between you and your ex-partner, help you identify the key issues causing disagreement and move towards amicable solutions. While mediation typically took place in-person prior to the pandemic, it can be successfully conducted online.
Here, Sushma Kotecha, Accredited Family Mediator at Holistic Family Mediation shared 13 practical tips to help you get the most from online mediation.
13 tips for productive and conducive online mediation sessions:
- Devices– Correct equipment is essential, whether it’s a computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet with a camera and microphone. Ideally, the use of headphones is recommended during online mediation for clarity and to limit the chance of the mediation being overheard.
- Internet– Ensure that you have appropriate internet connection for the online mediation to take place without interruption.
- Privacy– Mediation is a confidential process. There must be no one else in the room and the session must not be recorded.
- Screen display– You must be clearly visible from your device, and it’s recommended that we are all eye level to our cameras. It is wise to look behind you and check that you are comfortable with the other party to see your background. Alternatively, use Zoom to enable a choice of backgrounds.
- Turn off distractions– It’s recommended that other devices are switched to silent mode during the session so that there are no distractions, and all parties can fully concentrate on the discussions.
- Comfort– Mediation can get a little intense and so it is important from the outset that all parties are comfortable. Check your seating, room temperature and available refreshments beforehand.
- Paperwork– If you need any paperwork or a pen and paper for the session, make sure this is with you at the start of the meeting, so you do not need to break off and disrupt the flow of the session at any point.
- Dress code– There is no dress code in mediation because it is an informal process. However, it is good practice to dress in a way that is appropriate and respectful.
- Timings– Usually, online mediation sessions are booked for 90 minutes but it’s recommended that you allow some extra time in case it overruns. Also, it’s a good idea to be at your device and ready to start the session at least 5 -10 minutes beforehand in case of any technical difficulties.
- Communication– With any effective mediation session, all participants (that includes the mediator) need the space to communicate. It can be more difficult to pick up on social cues online and there is a possibility of slight time delays, so allow for pauses between discussions to avoid the risk of either party speaking over each other, which will hinder progress.
- Breath Work and Meditation– Calm any emotional tension and nerves in between and before mediation sessions with gentle breathing and meditation exercises. These guides about ‘Breathing exercises for stress’ and ‘What is meditation?’ may be useful.
- Exercise– Any form of regular physical activity will help your emotional and psychological well-being, helping to clear your mind and give you the right headspace for productive mediation sessions. You can take a walk, do the gardening, cycle, practice yoga, dance – the list is endless! Do a regular activity that brings you joy and some form of physical movement to increase endorphins.
- Legal advice– Last but not least, family mediation works best when parties are supported by their lawyers. Take the opportunity to discuss your situation with your lawyer before and after mediation sessions to manage expectations on your legal rights and responsibilities arising out of separation and/or divorce within the UK family legal system.
At Holistic Family Mediation participants are encouraged to take care of their mind, body, spirit, and soul by practicing self-care/love.
We are always beating ourselves up for our short-comings and mistakes, when in fact, we should show compassion and kindness both to ourselves and others.
It takes determination, clear intention, internal work, re-wiring, personal growth and digging deep to achieve a dignified, amicable, and fair resolution for you and your family, but it is achievable with the right support.
If you wish to:
- Lead happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives moving forwards.
- Secure two happy homes for you and your children.
- Save time, money, and energy on protracted negotiations/court proceedings.
Then mediation could be the way forward for you.
If you’d like to read more or get in touch with Sushma, visit Holistic Family Mediation.