Some points to be aware of in relation to Online Mediation.
The Mediator has an ongoing duty to ensure that the case is suitable for mediation. If she has any concerns, she will make these known to all parties straight away, and if they cannot be resolved she will be obliged to terminate the mediation process. Some circumstances which can preclude mediation include concerns for the safety of either party or the children, lack of full disclosure of personal and financial circumstances, lack of willingness to engage with the process and undue influence.
It is essential that all parties are comfortable using a computer, that they are happy typing, sending and receiving e-mails, working with word and PDF documents and using Skype or similar online Communication software. It is absolutely essential that both parties have private, unrestricted access to a computer and a secure internet connection. Public WIFI connections and internet cafes do not have a sufficiently high level of security for online mediation.
Confidentiality and privacy is essential in online mediation. Please ensure you take all reasonable steps to maintain the privacy of the process. These include managing children’s access to your computer, only using the secure platform for communications, logging off after a session and so on. In relation to skype/video conferencing sessions.
Please ensure that your software is up and running in advance of the session, and be sure that you have upgraded to the most recent version.
Please shut down all other applications on your desktop so you are not tempted to multi-task and answer emails etc. during the session.
Please ensure that you have a telephone (preferably landline) on standby in case the internet connection goes down on the software stops working.
Please be in position a few minutes before the scheduled session time so as to facilitate a punctual start.
It is essential to ensure that you are alone in the room and no-one can overhear your conversation. If someone enters the room during a session, please notify the mediator and any other parties. Please also check that the environment is warm enough, comfortable and free from background noise that could disturb the session.
The same rules of etiquette and procedure apply as in face to face communications – all discussions must remain respectful and free from threats and hostility. Very Important! If at any stage of the process you have any concerns about using any aspect of online mediation, you are uncomfortable using this model, or you experience “technology fatigue” please tell the mediator and please ask questions at any time.
When you have reached agreement, the mediator will send you both on a copy of your draft Agreement which, at this stage will not be legally binding until both parties have taken legal advice on its contents and all legal steps have been taken to give it legal effect. If you are living in different countries, your lawyers may need to co-operate in order to ensure that your agreement has legal effect in both/all the relevant countries.
Fees for online appointments must be secured with minimum half of the fee, at least five working days before the appointment takes place. This deposit is only refundable if the client/s cancels the appointment minimum 48 hours before it is due to take place.
Any skype sessions or face-to-face sessions are charged at an hourly rate. The once off charge is payable before the commencement of mediation, and the hourly charges are billed and payable as they arise. Fees are usually split equally between the parties unless you agree otherwise.
For more information on any of the above, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org