Given the current state of the country it may be some time before you are able to meet your collaborative attorney or mediator in person, whether for a consultation, a mediation or collaborative meeting, but that doesn’t mean you are unable to move forward with your separation or divorce.

Below are some guidelines to keep in mind when scheduling and attending an online consultation, mediation or collaborative meeting.

  1. Sign the retainer agreement or Agreement to Mediateand scan and email it back to the attorney or the mediator at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting or mediation. The attorney or mediator will review the document with you and you can ask any questions in the first few minutes of the meeting or session.
  2. Pay the retainer or the payment for the mediation session in advance of the start time. The attorney or mediator will send you an electronic invoice no later than the day before.
  3. If you are using Zoom as your meeting or mediation platform, you can join the meeting or session by clicking an emailed invitation link. It is helpful if you try to do this 5-7 minutes before the start time to be sure you can connect.
  4. Use headphones or ear buds and shut off all phones, email alerts, and radios to reduce ambient noise.
  5. There is no audio or video recording of the meeting or session, whether on your own or on your behalf, and no one else may be in the room with you. Confirm that you cannot be overhead. This includes by children, who should be kept busy with a caregiver for the length of the meeting or session so that you are not distracted.
  6. There are no individual conversations with the mediator unless agreed in advance i.e. if the mediator’s process is to hold pre sessions or caucuses during the mediation.
  7. All parties participate remotely.
  8. Bear in mind and specify if there is any time difference when scheduling e.g. 3pm ET/12 pm PT
  9. If a video link is lost, everyone waits, without speaking, until it is restored.
  10. There is typically a lag in transmission so take a beat after a person finishes speaking before you start to speak to avoid interrupting.
  11. The mediation or collaborative meeting may terminate if the quality of the connection is poor or if a breach of the guidelines may have occurred.

If you have any questions about the online participation process, reach out to your attorney or mediator and just ask! We are happy to help.

Catherine Canadé, Esq.
Canade´Law & Mediation