Yes, You Can Get a Virtually Mediated Video Divorce or Child Custody Agreement
With COVID-19 likely to loom on the horizon for a very long time, many couples who are considering divorce mediation or need to negotiate their child custody agreement are wondering if they can have the mediation virtually. My answer is absolutely yes!
Through my own personal experience as a divorce mediation attorney, I have found that virtual video mediation using Zoom is very effective in addressing both divorce and child custody. Due to the convenience and capabilities of virtual mediation, the couples I have worked with are able to get on with their lives, without the stress of needing to meet in person under COVID-19 conditions.
Here is how virtual divorce mediation works:
I start by holding a joint, pre-mediation telephone call with the couple and their consulting attorneys to ensure that the mediation process is clear. I also explain how the technology works and how legal documents will be signed. I recommend that everyone involved do a “trial Zoom run” before the mediation, just to be sure they are familiar and comfortable with the technology. Practicing Zoom meetings ahead of time with friends or family is a great way to do this. I also ask that everyone ensure that the computer and internet connection they will be using during the mediation is capable of clear, constant connection, and that they can be in a quiet space, away from the distraction of children and pets. Just as in-person mediation, a virtual mediation can take one or several meetings.
During the actual virtual divorce or child custody mediation, each member of the couple can have their consulting attorney with them in a “virtual breakout room,” or available by phone as the mediation progresses. As I mentioned in a previous post, Considering Divorce Mediation? Be Sure to Consult an Attorney, in divorce mediation, the mediator does not represent the interests of either party, legally or otherwise. The mediator’s role is to act solely as a neutral third party, who helps the couple discuss and resolve their differences. The role of a divorce consulting attorney, on the other hand, is to advise their client of the legal requirements of their situation and their options under California law. I always recommend that each member of the couple have a consulting attorney in their virtual breakout room or otherwise available to them throughout the mediation.
What about confidentiality with Zoom?
Zoom virtual breakout rooms support confidential, private conversations between the persons who are “in the room,” such as a husband sitting in his home office in San Rafael, and his consulting attorney located in Mill Valley. No other individual in the mediation can hear what they discuss. Zoom breakout rooms protect confidential client/attorney conversations from everyone, including the mediator. Zoom also provides the capability to share documents privately, such as with the mediator, so that the other member of the couple and their attorney cannot see what is being offered until the time is right.
I can virtually mediate your divorce
If you are considering a mediated virtual divorce or child custody agreement and would like to speak with an experienced family law attorney, please contact my office for a consultation.
Please contact my office for a consultation
Attorney Christina Sherman is a Marin County CA family law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, specializing in divorce, child custody and support, marital contracts and other family law issues.
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