The court system in Maine has been experimenting with video and telephone mediation for some time. The statistics suggest that success in mediation has more to do with WHO the mediator is rather than whether the mediation session was held in-person, by video or by telephone.
Also, beginning March 13, 2020, Maine’s Judicial Branch has, with some limited exceptions, postponed ALL in-person court events for family, civil, and criminal dockets are postponed.
Zoom technology offers virtually all of the features of in-person mediation sessions.
To allow cases to move forward and to help parties reach agreement, I am pleased to offer video mediation via Zoom. This technology allows each party and their lawyer to be able to call in separately from different locations, with no need to meet face-to-face.
- Joint sessions with the mediator and all parties (plus their lawyers, if any).
- One or more breakout sessions (technically called a “caucus”) where the party and his or her lawyer can have a confidential conversation.
- When in caucus, the parties choose to invite the mediator to join them.
- Caucus can also be used where the mediator meets with the lawyers without the parties OR where the mediator meets with the parties without the lawyers (if the lawyers agree).
- The parties (in a joint session or caucus) can, if desired, invite the GAL to join (if there is a GAL, or course).
Zoom is easy to use. Any software or app you need will be downloaded the first time you join a meeting, or you can download it ahead of time. Zoom can be used from a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone.
My friend (and personal Zoom mentor) Craig Freshley, of Good Group Decisions, has a simple introduction to meeting by Zoom here: https://tinyurl.com/v7r2hmk. [If this link is broken, please let me know and I will email you a pdf of Craig’s “handout.”] There is also a Zoom video that demonstrates how to join a meeting: https://tinyurl.com/vroay6r.
Please do not hesitate to contact me to explore whether a video mediation might be helpful in your situation.