The divorce mediation process is a voluntary way for you and your spouse to resolve your divorce issues together without litigation. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, divorce mediation sessions were often conducted in person at the mediator’s office. However, similar to many other businesses, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a pivot was required. It appears online divorce mediation is now growing in popularity.
If you and your spouse are considering online divorce mediation, here are some logistical items to consider.
7 Things You Should Consider About Online Divorce Mediation
1. Who will you and your spouse choose as a mediator?
If your divorce mediation will be conducted online, driving to the mediator’s office will not be a factor. Therefore you and your spouse may be able to choose from a wider selection of mediators. Perhaps you and your spouse could interview some mediators via telephone or video conference prior to choosing one. As divorce mediation is a voluntary process, you and your spouse should both be comfortable with the mediator.
2. Will you and your spouse be “attending” the online mediation sessions together or separately?
If you and your spouse live in separate physical residences you will probably each participate in the online mediation sessions from your own individual residence. However, if you are living together at the same residence, you may have a choice. Perhaps you can discuss your options with the mediator prior to the first mediation session. The mediator may ask some questions and provide some insight to help you and your spouse figure out what will work best.
3. Will you and your spouse each have the privacy needed to fully participate in the mediation sessions?
Ideally there should be minimal interruptions and no concerns of eavesdropping from other family members during the mediation session. The mediation session should be scheduled at a convenient time that works for you, your spouse, and the mediator.
4. If the mediator needs to speak to each of you separately and not in the presence of the other, how will that be done?
This would be a question to ask the mediator. For example, during the online session, will the mediator virtually separate the two of you during the joint session or will the mediator speak to each of you individually either by telephone or video conference after the joint online session?
5. How will the mediator receive delivery of your financial information and other sensitive documentation?
Since you will not be meeting in person, will your documentation be transmitted to the mediator securely online, by mail, by courier, or some other way? This could be a topic to discuss with the mediator prior to the first session.
6. How will payment of the mediation session be handled?
Will the mediator require a retainer payment up front or a credit card to be put on file? Or will you be able to pay at the end of each session?
7. Does the mediator have rules regarding the online mediation process?
This is a question you and your spouse could ask the mediator prior to scheduling your first appointment.