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Online Mediation in COVID-19

mediation, divorce mediation, couple settling disputes

Online Dispute Resolution During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Online dispute resolution (ODR), or online mediation, is defined by the American Bar Association as the use of information and communications technology to help parties prevent, manage, and resolve disputes by utilizing the following:

  • Software and apps to limit disputes between parties
  • Online forms and programs while working in-person to resolve a dispute
  • Online platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams to conduct mediations without meeting in-person

In the COVID-19 pandemic, online mediation is a widely-utilized tool that has proved useful for countless parties facing various kinds of legal disputes. It has been the only viable, safe, and effective option for dispute resolution between parties throughout the pandemic, and may continue to be a preferred method of ODR once the coronavirus crisis subsides.

Benefits of Online Mediation

Although some may argue that ODR is technologically challenging, the benefits of online mediation significantly outweigh the drawbacks. Some advantages of ODR include:

  • Accessible to people located in different geographic areas
  • Helps ease the feelings of threat and intimidation associated with meeting face-to-face
  • Saves travel time and costs
  • Expands options for choosing mediators, allowing parties to find mediators from around the country or world
  • Sessions can be scheduled off-hours or on weekends due to the increased flexibility in business hours
  • Easier to add people such as financial experts and mental health professionals who can help resolve a dispute
  • Helps reduce the spread of COVID-19

How to Prepare

To better ensure the success and flow of a mediation session, disputing parties, affiliated legal counsel, mediators, and outside experts would benefit from preparing for the ODR mediation session as such:

  • Using a computer with a high-quality web camera to view all participants in the session clearly
  • Avoiding using a cellphone where visibility of all participants is limited
  • Ensuring the video conferencing platform being utilized is secure to best protect the privacy of all participants
  • Waiting in a virtual waiting room until the host allows participants to join the mediation session
  • Joining the session from a private place, such as away from devices such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, which can record the mediation session
  • Not recording the mediation under any circumstances

Our Mediators Are Well-Versed in ODR

When deciding which mediator to choose for your particular legal dispute, you should consider retaining a mediator who is deeply experienced and comfortable with online mediation using video technology. Considering online mediation is in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, you must ensure that your mediator:

  • Considers physical settings and address them in advance
  • Is sensitive to local conditions and expectations, such as time differences, internet services, and availability
  • Holds pre-mediation caucuses with each party
  • Is mindful and respectful of each party’s time
  • Anticipates potential ODR issues and addresses then in advance
  • Understands how to overcome the technological challenges that may arise in online mediation

With this in mind, our Colorado mediators at Cantafio & Song PLLC are equipped to help all clients in need of online mediation understand what to expect, how to prepare, and, importantly, work to resolve their legal disputes as seamlessly and equitably as possible.

To speak with us about your situation and learn your legal options, contact us online or at (888) 458-0991 today!

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