In family disputes or anything more complicated than a simple disagreement over a refund or similar – remote electronic mediation creates barriers to communication and meeting your mediator face to face is infinitely better. Online may save on rent, time and travel, but when it results in a poorer understanding, then it is a false economy.
Communication critically engages a wide range of senses and exchanges, many non-verbal, some unconscious and instinctive. We are still studying human interactions; they are so complex and multi-dimensional. Misunderstandings and conflict are frequently caused by miscommunication and miscuing. One of the mediator’s main tasks is interpreting and managing communication and interpersonal exchanges. Digital exchanges are inevitably limited and not as effective. Face-to-face, people can read nuances of expression, voice and body language. Focus mediators think savings from online or Skype MIAMs or mediation are a false economy and we do not recommend choosing online mediation if it could take place in person.
Whilst we sometimes conduct MIAMs or mediate online – we are clear about its limitations. Clients find it more difficult to tune in and technology can be a tricky distraction. Nonetheless, sometimes there may be good reasons to work online, despite its problems, so Focus mediators will do online MIAMs in the following circumstances:
- You have had a face to face MIAMs or your mediation broke down and your FM1 certificate has expired (a form signed by a mediator confirming to the court you can issue proceedings as you have attended a MIAM); we can do a remote MIAMs and re-issue the court form
- One of you lives at a distance and the only feasible way to mediate is electronically – this is a joint decision following a practical analysis of your situation
Anyone who wants or needs their FM1 to go to court will of course get it. A court application may often be needed, e.g. to force the engagement of the other party in any process to sort out a dispute. However, you can also consider with the mediator how mediation might help later in the shadow of the court time-table, so ending costly and lengthy litigation. A proper MIAM gives you vital information and insights to help you – why bypass that?
Focus mediators are specialists and mediation is what we do, so we have a wealth of experience of resolving conflict at our fingertips. We offer online MIAMs to some of our clients where this is appropriate. We know the best way to help most separating couples is to help them to mediate in a way they can manage and sort out their problems fast in mediation. Court is expensive and slow. It is a destination of last resort for most families.
A Focus Mediation MIAMs is thorough. We will listen carefully to you and get an understanding of your problems from your perspective – and if you want/need to go to court, then we shall give you the FM1 form to make your application. We shall explain the various options to you thoroughly, so you have a clear understanding of the full range of non-nuclear options for resolution, including during court proceedings, so if you’re litigating you don’t end up feeling you’re on a runaway train with no way out until trial. If you are going to mediate you will be given a welcome pack full of resources relevant to your situation, so you can get off to a flying start in your first session of mediation. All this for £100 + VAT or £150 + VAT if you come to a joint MIAM. Why go online if you don’t have to do so, how can it be better?