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Insights // 19 January 2021

Remote Family Mediation - What are the Benefits?

On day two of Family Mediation Week, associate solicitor Paul Linsell, in our leading Family Law team, explains his experience of conducting mediation for couples remotely, via video link, during lockdown.

Many couples facing relationship breakdown decide to embark on a mediation process rather than endure the stresses of a courtroom. Mediation also has clear benefits in terms of reducing time and cost when resolving family law disputes.

Mediation can help you:

  • Discuss and agree arrangements for the children
  • Sort out financial arrangements on divorce or separation
  • Work through any formalities, such as a divorce process or prenuptial contract
  • Improve communications and strengthen co-parenting skills
  • Resolve any other issues arising from your divorce or separation

Solicitor-mediators are particularly well-placed to provide mediation services, as they have knowledge of the legal framework behind your dispute and can provide clear information.

How has remote mediation been working since the pandemic began?

Usually family mediation involves all parties meeting in the same place, often in the same room. However, with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to that approach, there has been a rise in the use of remote mediation.

Remote mediation is conducted via video call, using platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The general principles are the same as face-to-face mediation, save that the parties and the mediator are not physically in the same room. The mediator will use the same skills and techniques to assist in navigating the various issues.

Mediators have found that the mediation process can be easily adapted to remote use; and it remains a good option for separating couples resulting in a successful outcome in many cases.  I have had good feedback from clients indicating that they still find mediation to be a helpful and effective technique even when conducted online.

What are the benefits of remote mediation?

As well as the general benefits of mediation, remote mediation additionally offers the following advantages:

  • It provides a fully socially distanced process to assist in resolving all issues
  • It can often be more convenient with no additional travel time or cost
  • It is commonly easier to find mutually available dates, as it is easier to fit in around busy schedules
  • Feedback from clients suggests that it offers greater comfort, as the clients have a choice as to where they are when engaging in sessions and many suggest that this results in it being less intimidating than other processes
  • Often the process can be more flexible, as it is quicker and easier to share information in real time and to use techniques such as breaking out into separate virtual rooms

Is remote mediation right for me?

Remote mediation offers an attractive option for many. However, there can still be benefits to face-to-face mediation or circumstances where remote mediation may not be suitable. If you would like to discuss these processes or any other options that might be suitable then please get in touch with a member of our specialist Family Law team.

For further information or legal advice, please contact law@blandy.co.uk or call 0118 951 6800. 

This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.

Paul Linsell

Paul Linsell

Associate Solicitor, Family Law

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