The new ‘online’ divorce

It’s not uncommon to hear people say that they can’t bear to be in the same room as their ex when they are separating or divorcing. But can they resolve the issues around their separation by collaborating online?  

Online mediation and collaborative practice  specialists Liz Tait and Stephen Anderson believe that they can, and outline some guidance here for separating couples who may be considering exploring online dispute resolution.

Online dispute resolution (or problem solving) isn’t that different really to face-to-face interactions. It uses many of the same approaches and structures, plus a few extras to help everyone make progress in a virtual forum.  

For many, the opportunity of harnessing online technology might seem daunting, but working online can be very easy, convenient and accessible – not to mention saving time, travel and therefore cost.
Here are some considerations before deciding whether or not online communication could help you work out the issues around your separation:

Privacy

Many separating couples already choose mediation or collaborative practice to protect their privacy, and online communication can enhance this for the office shy. During online discussions, your lawyers will ask you to confirm that no one else is present in the room and that the meeting is not being recorded.

Technology

Skype or Zoom are preferred by experienced online practitioners, but there are other software systems available that can be download without charge. Test calls are essential to make sure everything is working as it should. Things can go wrong - connections can fail. Sometimes, the proper course of action is to pause the meeting and restart the connection.  Trying to work through a poor connection often can lead to frustration for everyone.

Interacting online

A common concern about online dispute resolution is that nuances will be lost and that progress will be impacted as a result. In practice, however, an online forum frequently serves to intensify and accentuate body language and emphasis, and leads to enhanced concentration as there is less distraction.

To find out more information about online working, contact Liz Tait at Divorce Jigsaw or Stephen Anderson at Anderson Family Matters.
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