If you are separating from a spouse, partner or co-parent then mediation is an important step towards finding a way forward for you and your family. In most cases it is possible to resolve issues and reach a parenting plan and/or financial agreement without going to court. However, if there is a history of high conflict or abuse then it may be more difficult to come to an agreement face to face in the traditional sense. In this situation a shuttle mediation approach might be needed.
The term’shuttle mediation’ refers to the fact that your former partner and you meet separately with your mediator. This can be done in person or online. If it is in person your former partner and you might be kept in separate rooms and the mediator moves back and forth between them. The mediator will then communicate back and forth between you both (or your lawyers if your case is being handled by attorneys) in order to find an agreement.
Often in high conflict or abuse cases it is not safe for both former partners to be in the same room together. This might be due to the power imbalance between you or your former partner, a feeling of danger or fear or because of memories that remain from past coercive behaviour.
For these reasons, and others, it can be useful to consider a virtual shuttle mediation for your case. At Family Circle Mediation we offer this option for our clients who have a history of high conflict or abuse. This is done by keeping you in separate virtual rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between you either by phone, online or in person.
While there are many benefits to shuttle mediation (such as avoiding re-traumatisation and reducing the time needed for resolution) it can be challenging. Emotional discussions are difficult in any mediation process and when they take place in separate rooms, with a mediator shuttles back and forth between you and your partner, it can be a very stressful experience.
In addition, a lack of direct communication can make it difficult to identify the key issues and to cut through superfluous or repetitive arguments and discussion points. Shuttle mediation can also be more time consuming than face to face mediation, as the same processes are completed twice (opening statements and setting the agenda) with each party.
Ultimately, it is important for you and your partner to decide whether shuttle mediation or face to face mediation is the best method for your situation. A good mediator will help you to understand the pros and cons of both options so you can make an informed decision. Contact Family Circle Mediation for more information on how to get started with mediation or if you want to discuss your options in more detail. what is shuttle mediation