Virtual Mediations in the COVID-19 Pandemic
The American Bar Association defines online dispute resolution (ODR), commonly called “online mediation,” as the use of information and communications technology to help parties prevent, manage, and resolve disputes. This may include using:
- Online forms and programs while working in-person to resolve a case or dispute
- Software and apps to limit disputes between parties
- Online platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams to conduct mediations or work through a collaborative divorce process without needing to meet face-to-face
Since many jurisdictions in the state of New York are forced to conduct legal proceedings online to help stop the spread of COVID-19, online mediation has become a popular method of handling divorce and family legal issues that arise between two parties. While there are some drawbacks of online mediation during COVID-19, the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages.
As such, our Dutchess County divorce attorneys describe these benefits below:
Helps resolve cases amicably while following CDC and local guidelines:
The primary reason for mediation sessions being conducted online is because meeting in-person violates local and federal safety guidelines. As you know, businesses, schools, and courts across the country are closed, forcing people to rely on technology to accomplish their tasks. As such, ODR is a safer and, in our current state of public health, primary method of mediating divorces and other family legal issues.
Allows people to participate in a mediation session from anywhere
A significant advantage of ODR for family mediation is participants can join a session from anywhere around the world, as long as they have access to a computer with a good-quality web camera and microphone. For instance, if a party or lawyer is traveling, they can still participate in the mediation without having to coordinate a time and place that works well for all parties.
ODR saves time and money, which is why so many people prefer this method of mediation. By not having to travel, you can save money on attorney’s fees and travel-related expenses you otherwise would be subjected to. In addition, virtual mediations allow one party to handle work or household tasks while the other party is speaking to the mediator.
Greater flexibility in scheduling, such as arranging mediation sessions off-hours or on weekends
Traditional business hours have shifted due to the pandemic, as countless Americans are working from home. As such, it may be easier to schedule virtual mediations for off-hours or on weekends due to reduced business hour restrictions.
Helps ease the scheduling conflicts
Gathering participants for a mediation session is far from simple, especially when they live in different geographic locations and/or have personal and professional obligations to adhere to. ODR, however, makes it easier for attorneys, parties, experts, and mediators to gather and help resolve a dispute because, as the name implies, it is online.
Reduces feelings of threat and intimidation
Mediations function to help disputing parties reach their own solutions to a given problem. As such, it is not surprising that parties often feel tension, anxiety, and animosity towards one another, which can heighten when meeting in-person. Therefore, online mediation can mitigate those negative feelings and allow for a safer and more effective method of resolution.
Expands options for selecting mediators
Parties will not be limited to local mediators should they choose ODR. Online mediation breaks the bounds that parties often face when selecting a local mediator for their in-person session, allowing them to retain mediators from anywhere they want.
Contact Our Dutchess County Divorce Mediation Attorneys
At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, we understand that finding the best possible solution to your legal dispute is of the utmost priority, which is why you can count on us to dedicate our time, resources, and efforts to resolving your divorce issue as smoothly as possible. With over 75 combined years of experience and a track record for helping divorcing couples overcome their problems, you can rest assured that our Dutchess County divorce mediation lawyers have your back.
To speak with us about your situation, please arrange your free consultation online or at (845) 605-4330!