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May 10, 2022

Zoom Mediation – Family Law Mediator

Zoom is now an integral part of everyone’s lives. Rashelle Fetty understands this. Zoom Mediations for Family Law Cases are important for keeping everyone safe. Below you will see three reasons why Zoom Mediations are more successful.

While in-person mediations are successful for some, there are reasons why Zoom can be better.

1. Fewer obstacles and cohesive circumstances.

On Zoom, we feel comfortable in our surroundings. We see how we are each living. Many experience a shared common bond seeing one another in a living room, home office, or seeing the family cat walk across the screen or hearing the bark of an at-home dog, the sounds of a child in the background, and so on. We all want COVID over.  This humanizes the parties to the mediator and vice versa, and the parties to one another and to the attorneys— at least it often stands to do so.  Many are social distancing to the point that human contact is welcome more than when we could go and do more or less anything pre-COVID.   With the pandemic, many of us see few people for extended interpersonal exchange. When we do, it can be disarming, even cathartic, in some instances even with the opposition. At home or office, we have access to our preferred foods, choose perhaps more comfortable footwear that does not appear on screen, and have comforts we are used to.  This collectively can make burying a hatchet more palatable than at pre-COVID in-person mediations. 

2. No jury trials. This is a double-edged sword. Presently, jury trials are few if any, and far between. Some will hold out for time value of money and other strategic reasons and this prevents some settlements. But some, aware of this long wait, choose to settle rather than wait.  Parties account for this delay in setting bargaining and expectation endpoints for the negotiation. Some will bargain for finality because of the uncertain time.

3. Higher decision-maker participation. Pre-COVID, often the behind-the-scenes party with decision-making authority would be available by phone. This might be a higher level adjuster, an attorney in a general counsel’s office, or some other executive who is consulted on offer and demand moves. pre-COVID, distance, travel cost, and other office obligations stood in the way of attending the mediation in person. While there was more limited opportunity to communicate with or observe communication with a ‘higher up’ who might be on the other end of an occasional phone call, with a Zoom mediation, that decision-maker is far more accessible. The mediator can gain information from the interaction, words, and body language communicated via Zoom., Direct communication becomes more common than pre-COVID. Some such higher-ups will attend without video, but even then the access makes it easier to gather details and express concepts that can help settle the case.