Design Image

News

Coronavirus - April 2020

In these difficult and unprecedented times, social distancing means that face to face meetings are no longer possible but there are families who desperately still need help.  The social distancing rules themselves have created issues for parents and maintaining contact with children.

The good news is that we are still able to assist with online virtual meetings and can provided you have access to a laptop, computer, tablets or even a phone, as long as it has a camera, we can still hold MIAM's and mediation is still possible.  Legal Ais is still available too.  We do still have to assess your eligibility and need evidence to support this but the Legal Aid Agency has relaxed its rules to enable us to provide free mediation.  It has changed the rules about signature of the legal aid form which mean you can do this even if you do not have a printer and scanner.

Online MIAM's

Our preferred way of conducting the MIAM is via a free online video conferencing platform called Zoom (similar to Skype). Although it is free for you, you are still required to download zoom. This can be done on a laptop, computer, tablet, IPad or even a phone. The following link will take you to their website where more information and instructions around this can be found:

 https://zoom.us/

Click on sign up for free; enter your e-mail address and follow the instructions.

You will receive an invite by e-mail to the meeting, and to join you just click on the link.  If you “arrive” early, you will wait in a virtual waiting room.  You will receive a further e-mail to let you know the mediator is ready to start the meeting.

We can also offer assessment meetings by Skype, FaceTime etc.  Please discuss the options when you are arranging your meeting.

TECH tips for your virtual MIAM:

  • Make sure your device has sufficient battery, data and/or internet connection for the duration of the call.
  • If you are not using your phone for the meeting, have it by you but set to silent, in case the mediator needs to speak to you if there are technical issues.
  • Remember you are attending a professional meeting and dress and act accordingly.
  • Make sure you have everything that you might need to hand – pen, paper etc.
  • Make sure you have a drink if you need one.

Online Mediation

Mediation meetings will take place using Zoom.  You will each receive an invite by e-mail to the meeting, and to join you just click on the link.  If you “arrive” early, you will wait in a virtual waiting room.  You will receive a further e-mail to let you know the meeting is in progress.  The mediator will not let you into the meeting until both of you are waiting.  If you need a break at any point, the mediator can return you both to the waiting room and the mediator ends the meeting for all, so discussions cannot continue after the meeting has ended.

The length of your meeting will be agreed with you on booking but please allow an additional half hour for any technology issues.

TECH tips for your virtual mediation:

  • Make sure your device has sufficient battery, data and/or internet connection for the duration of the call. If you are not using your phone for the meeting, have it by you but set to silent, in case the mediator needs to speak to you if there are technical issues.
  • Make sure that you are somewhere free from distraction and as much as possible, background noise.
  • Remember you are attending a professional meeting and dress and act accordingly.
  • Make sure you are comfortable and have all you might need for the meeting – pen and paper, drink etc and for financial issues – your documents and a calculator.
  • In mediation, confidentiality is crucial so it is essential that no one else is present in the room, or can overhear you, and that no recording devices are used.  
  • Please remember that the other party will see both you and what is behind you, so think carefully about where you sit.  Check there are no photos etc. visible that might cause upset.
  • Zoom highlights the screen person speaking so it helps if you not interrupt.

Online can be scary if you are not used to it.  If you need help, say so.

Exchanging documents in financial mediations

In these challenging times, we have had to come up with new ways of exchanging documents, particularly financial disclosure.  E-mail is of course, not a secure medium and we want to ensure your information is safe.

We have therefore decided we will use Dropbox. To properly protect your information, this will mean you will need to open a Dropbox account, if you do not already have one, so that access can be limited to just the parties involved.  This will also mean you are able to send us documents without risk.  Dropbox Basic is free of charge.  It can be used on a computer, laptop, IPad or tablet or phone.

 To Open a Dropbox Basic account go to their website: https://www.dropbox.com/en_GB/basic

 Click on “Sign up for Free” and follow the instructions.

We will set up a File which we will be able to share with you and the other party.  No-one else can access the file.  You will receive an e-mail notification that we have invited you to edit the folder.  This will mean you can add documents to the file and view documents already in there. 

As always we ask you not to provide documents unless you have been asked to do so.  We recommend that you download and save the documents in a secure place.