Online mediation is no longer a novel concept. It is now a viable option for many disputes, particularly those with significant distances between disputants and the mediator.
Mediator productivity is higher when mediations occur online. This is because parties and mediators have the opportunity to get additional work done during natural pauses and breaks in the mediation session.
In online mediation sessions, participants do not need to travel to a physical location. This makes the process easier for those with mobility issues or a disability. This also means that the sessions fit into their schedules more easily. For example, they can be held during a lunch break or before or after work. This flexibility is especially important for people with childcare responsibilities.
The ability to communicate via videoconferencing is also beneficial for mediators. It allows them to see their participants’ reactions and reactions, and it can improve the focus of the session. Additionally, mediators can save time by switching rooms immediately during caucuses.
While COVID-19 has put a number of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms on hold, many have begun to move online. This has led to the development of best practices, including contingency planning for bad connectivity and guidelines for avoiding Zoom fatigue. In addition, New York state has begun to offer kiosks for parties who lack access to broadband internet.
Online mediation allows disputants to negotiate in privacy from their own homes or offices. It is also cheaper than resolving disputes in person. It also allows parties to easily share documents via e-mail and video conferences.
While e-mail talks lack some of the in-person cues that facilitate rapport and understanding, it is often possible to mediate in this way without any significant misunderstandings. Moreover, mediators have the opportunity to take more time to consider and respond to disputants’ statements in e-mail talks than they do during face-to-face mediations.
However, many mediators report that they find it difficult to build trust and rapport in online mediation sessions. Some say that they experience technical problems, environmental distractions, or a general lack of party engagement in online mediation. Despite these drawbacks, mediators have found that the online process has broader appeal than they expected. It has allowed them to reach more low-value disputes and may even open the door for some high-value cases to enter the mediation system.
Ease of Scheduling
Online mediation allows participants to mediate from anywhere that is quiet & secure. This convenience is particularly useful for people who travel extensively for work or live in multiple locations. This can eliminate the need to take time off or battle through traffic and stress to get to a mediation session.
In addition, e-mediators can use online programs to allow participants to digitally share documents during sessions. This means that the mediator can ask questions and get immediate feedback from parties without requiring them to leave their home or office.
The ability to mediate online also makes it easier for parties to bring in third party experts such as accountants or lawyers. This is often more affordable than paying for a private room in a mediation facility.
The cost of online mediation is typically lower than traditional divorce proceedings. It can also be less expensive if you need to bring in third parties such as experts, who can join the session online without paying for their travel costs.
Another benefit of online mediation is that it allows you to easily share important documents during the session. This eliminates confusion and saves time by avoiding the need to make physical copies.
Finally, many mediators offer flexible payment plans for online mediation sessions. For instance, you can choose to pay for a set number of hours or a flat fee for your entire case. Depending on your needs, you can also opt for additional services such as the preparation of post-mediation paperwork or filing with the court. You should always ask about the fee structure before choosing a mediator. This will help you avoid surprises down the road. Moreover, a mediator who offers a flexible payment plan is more likely to be able to work with your budget.