Online Mediation is here to stay


Online or virtual mediation became almost the only way to mediate during the height of the pandemic. It is here to stay and many of my mediations continue to take place online. Mediation is taking place in person but some couples are electing to mediate online.

What happens in online mediation?

The mediation is conducted by way of video call. Before any joint mediations can take place each of you must have an individual meeting with the mediator. That meeting gives you the opportunity to talk in confidence with the mediator about your situation. The mediator explains more about the mediation process and also takes you through the other process options available to resolve matters. The mediator is ensuring that mediation is suitable for your circumstances and you need to ensure you are prepared to take part in mediation.

In online mediation that first meeting will take place by video call. The mediator will explain what it feels like to mediate online and things to be aware. It’s helpful to have pen & paper available and a drink. You need to make sure that you can’t be overheard and that your internet connection is strong enough for a video call.

When you move to the joint meeting this is usually a three way video call. You will be on a call with the mediator and your ex. One of the harder parts of mediating online is remembering that only one person can be heard at a time. Ideally, you won’t be interrupting the other person while they are speaking but it is normal to react to what the other person is saying or want to respond immediately. Online mediation takes a little more patience and requires you to let the other person finish speaking before you have your turn.

It is also easy to conduct shuttle mediation online. If it has been arranged that you will not be in the same “room” as your ex then online mediation is a really easy way to enable this. You will be on screen with the mediator who will then leave you for a period of time and go on screen with the other person. Most online video platforms enable you to be in a separate “room” and you do not need to see your ex.

The mediator will often share their screen during the online mediation – to share financial information or to show the notes they have made of the proposals you are making.

Benefits of online mediation

Online mediation is easier to organise. When a mediation session takes place we are arranging at least three diaries. By conducting mediation online there is more flexibility as to when the meetings can be arranged and you reduce the need to travel.

You can be in the comfort of your own home. This can feel less daunting than going to an office that you don’t know, worrying about where to park or how to find the place. Please do remember this is a professional meeting though. Turning up in pyjamas or wondering round the house during the call to do other things is not appropriate. Treat it as you would if you were travelling to the mediator’s office.

Perhaps the main advantage of online mediation is for those where there has been a controlling relationship. You do not have to be in the same building as your ex partner. There is a physical distance and many people can find it so much easier to manager mediation that way.

Nearly all of us got used to video calls during the pandemic and this form of mediation is here to stay. I enjoy mediating both in person and online and find both formats an effective process.


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