Boston Mediator Tells All: Inside The Collaborative Process to Solve Almost Any Dispute

People who are considering mediation for dispute resolution often wonder how this collaborative process actually works. While the proceedings are conducted in an informal atmosphere and the process is legally non-binding, an experienced Boston mediator will conduct it in meticulous stages. This helps ensure that everything goes smoothly and efficiently to the advantage of all parties involved.

Here are the different stages or steps that will be a part of your mediation process. With the help of a skillful Boston mediation attorney, you may be able to complete all the steps in one meeting itself.

Planning with the Boston Mediator

Before the mediation process begins, the mediator will help both parties choose a meeting location and venue as well as identify the people from both sides who will participate in it. You have the option to bring your attorney, which can be present during the entire process and advise you as required.

Your Boston mediator will inform you in advance about the documents that they may want you to bring to the mediation room. Depending on the situation, they may require you to provide a mediation statement ahead of time. This is a position statement that will list your expectations and demands from the other party to the dispute.

Opening Remarks

boston mediatorThe mediator will introduce the participants and will describe how the mediation will proceed and what the ground rules are. Thereafter, both parties will have an individual opportunity to share their version of the facts of the case. When you are presenting your opening remarks, no one will interrupt you.

It is possible that sometimes one or both parties to the dispute may not only focus on facts but also give a vent to their emotions. As long as everything is said in a calm and respectful manner, sharing feelings frankly is not really a bad thing during mediation. It can help both sides see things from the viewpoint of the other party, and increases the chances of dispute resolution.

Joint Discussion and Caucuses

A joint discussion will commence after the opening remarks. Both parties as well as the Boston mediation attorney will be free to talk, ask questions, and seek clarifications from each other. This will enable the disputant parties to better understand each other’s concerns, expectations, and goals.

If an impasse occurs at any point during the discussion (if one party does not budge from their stance or refuses to give any concession), your mediator will sense the potential stalemate and intervene in a thoughtful manner to help both sides to move forward.

Sometimes the atmosphere may get emotionally heated up or one party may start losing their calm demeanor. In this situation, your mediator may send both parties to separate rooms temporarily for a private meeting or caucus.

Negotiation and Closure

boston mediatorThe final step in the mediation process will be to include the central issues or interests of each party and formulate a proposed resolution. The negotiations may go back and forth, and the mediator will continue to direct the negotiations by either shuttling between the parties separately or in the common mediation room itself.

After the proposals and counter-proposals are negotiated, both parties may find common ground. Your Boston mediator will then write down the main provisions and request both sides to sign the mediation agreement.

Bring Your Case to a Leading Boston Mediator

Anna Shapiro, Esq. is a well-known and respected mediation specialist, providing professional mediation services along with her legal team in Massachusetts and South Florida. Call us at 617.765.1040 to book a free consultation or write to us online.

Boston Divorce Mediator: What Happens to The House?

The marital home is often one of the most valuable and prized assets that will be subject to division in a Massachusetts divorce. As shared by a Boston divorce mediator, in a contentious divorce case, the spouses may fail to agree on who should get the house or how it should be split as part of the property division. In this situation, the court will decide on its own regarding this asset.

Chances are that both sides may end up being dissatisfied with a court-determined property division order. After all the heartburn, stress, and time and money spent on a litigious divorce, the end result may not be worth it. Therefore, it may be prudent to work with a Massachusetts mediation attorney to decide issues such as property division, including division of the marital home.

Issues to be considered during Mediation

While the court typically focuses on factors such as how long the marriage lasted, what was the conduct of each spouse during the marriage, and the age, health, and income of each spouse, your Boston divorce mediator will look at the facts more considerately. They will first consider which party wants to retain the house, and which one does not.

When one or both parties want the house

boston divorce mediator If both parties want to keep the house, the mediator will encourage them to consider the current and future needs of the children. If it is in the children’s interest to stay in the marital home, the mediator can help both co-parents to focus on the children’s priorities and let the custodial parent keep the home.

However, in this case, the mediator will also consider whether the spouse who wants to keep the house has the financial capability to buy out the share of the other party. On top of this, if there are other valuable marital assets that the other spouse can get in lieu of the home equity, a mutually beneficial property division arrangement can be agreed upon.

When both parties do not want the home

When both parties in a divorce want to sell off the house, or one party wants to keep it but is unable to afford it, an experienced and resourceful Massachusetts mediation attorney can help in this matter. If the parties are not agreeable on the house valuation or the target sales amount, the mediator may recommend obtaining market sale offers for the property.

Based on the recent sale price of similar homes in the neighborhood, it is possible to determine a reasonable market value of the house. After comparing these figures with the actual sale offers obtained, both parties may decide to sell off the house with the mediator’s advice and encouragement.

Professional House Appraisal

boston divorce mediator Sometimes it may be hard to agree on house valuation during divorce mediation. To save time and to enable a constructive resolution, your Boston divorce mediator may recommend getting the house value appraised from a reputable third-party appraiser. This valuation can be obtained even before the mediation is scheduled.

Choose a Dedicated Massachusetts Mediation Attorney

Our legal team at Shapiro Mediation Services, led by attorney Anna Shapiro, Esq. can help remove the uncertainty and stress that is often inherent to the issues of marital home division. We can help you and your ex-spouse arrive at a satisfactory resolution for your divorce-related property division and other family law issues. Call us at 617.765.1040 today to book a complimentary consultation or contact us online.

Boston Eviction Mediator Answers: Evicted For Any of These 5 Reasons? It Was Illegal!

Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) set forth the rules that tenants and landlords are required to follow. These rules cover how and when a landlord may evict a tenant. In some situations, the eviction may be illegal and you have a right as a tenant to dispute the landlord’s action. A seasoned landlord tenant mediation attorney Massachusetts can help settle the dispute and the possibility of litigation may be avoided for both parties.

“Self-Help” Eviction is Illegal

landlord tenant mediation attorney MassachusettsIn Massachusetts, if you are a tenant, your landlord cannot evict you unless they have obtained a court order, which is known as an execution. If you were evicted from the property in any other manner, such as cutting off the utilities or changing the locks of the property, it is an unlawful action on part of the landlord.

You may claim repossession of the rental property or claim damages from the landlord in such a case. However, filing a lawsuit could prolong the matter and you will have no control over the legal proceedings or the outcome of the case. Working with a Boston mediator might be a far more effective way to resolve the dispute. 

Correct Eviction Procedure not Followed

If your landlord failed to follow the eviction procedure as described either in the lease terms or as per the state’s General Laws, you can challenge the action. For instance, the landlord must give a notice of two weeks when they want to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent.

An eviction lawsuit filed without giving this notice can give you a defense in court. Both you and the landlord may consider choosing the path of mediation and consult with an experienced landlord tenant mediation attorney Massachusetts for dispute resolution.

Failure to Maintain the Rental Property

landlord tenant mediation attorney MassachusettsThe landlord in Massachusetts has a legal obligation to maintain the rental premises in a habitable and fit condition. The rental property should comply with the local building codes and sanitary rules, and the rental unit should not adversely impact the safety or health of the tenant and their family members.

If the tenant does not pay the rent because of the landlord’s failure to carry out essential repairs or maintenance in the rental unit, they can argue against their eviction. Rather than settle this dispute through a lengthy, stressful, and expensive litigation process, it may be an astute idea to pursue a resolution with the help of a trusted Boston mediator.

Eviction based on Discrimination

According to the Fair Housing Act provisions, a landlord cannot discriminate against tenants on the basis of gender, religion, race, nationality, disability, or familial status (pregnant women and children below 18).

The anti-discrimination state laws in Massachusetts also prohibit landlords from discrimination on various grounds, including age, gender, creed, sexual orientation, ancestry, veteran status, genetic information, marital status, or disability. Eviction based on one or more of these characteristics would be illegal. It is best to mediate and settle these disputes with the help of a landlord tenant mediation attorney Massachusetts.

Get Legal Advice and Assistance from a Top Boston Mediator

Tenants in Massachusetts have several protections against illegal eviction. Your best bet in a tenant landlord dispute would be to speak to a dedicated legal expert who is trained in the mediation process. Consult with one of our mediators at Shapiro Mediation Services today at our Massachusetts or South Florida office. Call us at 617.765.1040 or fill out this contact form to schedule a consultation.

Disability Discrimination Mediator: Very Important! If You Have a Disability, Here Are Your Employment Protections in Massachusetts

Persons with disability have legal protections under the Massachusetts employment discrimination laws (provider under Chapter 151B of the state’s General Laws) as well as the federal law called the ADA. The state law covers employers who have at least six employees, while the ADA covers employers who have at least 15 employees.

Both laws provide that a qualified employer may not discriminate against a worker with a disability. If you believe that you are a victim of workplace discrimination because of a disability, you should consult with an employment mediation attorney or a disability discrimination mediator for legal advice.

Reasonable Accommodation

Employers in Massachusetts are required to make reasonable employment-related modifications at the workplace in order to provide equal opportunity to a person with a disability. These types of reasonable accommodation should enable them to:

  •       Apply for and compete to obtain a job
  •       Carry out the core job role and function
  •       Obtain the same financial benefits and privileges as other workers

The disability should either be obvious to the employer or the job applicant or employer should notify the employer of their disability. Only then the employer is responsible for providing reasonable accommodation in these cases. If you have a dispute with your employer or prospective employer on this issue, you may work with a disability discrimination mediator to find a resolution.

disability discrimination mediatorSome of the typical accommodations in these cases may include modified work schedules, physical changes to the office facilities, adjustment in training materials, and provision of skilled interpreters or readers. Sometimes the employer may be able to show that a requested accommodation would cause them an “undue hardship.”

This could be an administrative, operational, or financial hardship. In these cases, they may not be legally required to agree to the employee’s request for accommodation. However, the employer would still have a right to know why the employer considers a requested accommodation and undue hardship. An employment mediation attorney help settle disputes related to disability discrimination in the workplace.

Questions that May or May Not be Permitted 

Employers in Massachusetts cannot ask whether an employee or a job candidate has a disability, or what is the nature or extent of a disability. However, the employer has a right to inquire if a candidate can perform the role and function related to a particular job.

disability discrimination mediatorBefore a job offer has been made, the employer cannot ask an applicant to undergo a medical exam. After the job offer is made, the employer can ask for a medical exam to be cleared, subject to (a) all workers in that particular job category have to undergo the same exam; or (b) the medical exam is required to arrange for a reasonable accommodation.

Massachusetts law prohibits employers from using any selection tests or other employment criteria that are designed to identify or screen out persons with disabilities. These tests and criteria should only measure the candidate’s ability to carry out a core job function.

Talk to a Disability Discrimination Mediator in Massachusetts

If you believe that your employer has violated your employment rights or discriminated against you because of your disability, you may consider the option of mediation instead of a lawsuit. Shapiro Mediation Services has the deep domain expertise to help resolve employment disputes through mediation. Talk to our mediators by requesting a free consultation. Call 617.765.1040 or contact us online

Employment Contract Mediator Answers: What an Employer Can And Can’t Do to Your Job Status Amidst The Pandemic

Many workers have questions regarding their job status and employment rights during the Covid-19 pandemic. Get all your answers here!

Many workers have questions and concerns regarding their job status and employment rights during the Covid-19 pandemic. Disputes between employers and employees can be resolved more easily when there is clarity on what an employer can or cannot do to a worker’s job status. For unresolved disputes, it may be best to work with a reliable employment contract mediator in Massachusetts.

Q: During the hiring process, can the employer screen new job applicants for Covid-19 symptoms?

A: Yes, according to the EEOC, after a conditional job offer has been made, the employer reserves the right to screen the candidate for Covid-19 symptoms. However, this practice must be applied to all job applicants in that category uniformly. If you believe the employer has discriminated against you on this issue, you should talk to a Boston employment mediator.

employment contract mediatorQ: Can the employer check the body temperature of the job applicant as part of a pre-employment health exam?

A: Yes, according to the EEOC, checking a job applicant or employee’s body temperature during Covid-19 would be regarded as a medical exam. Medical exams of prospective job candidates are permitted by the ADA after a conditional job offer has been given to an applicant.

Q: If the applicant shows Covid-19 symptoms or is confirmed positive, can the employer delay the start date of their employment?

A: Yes, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not prevent employers from abiding by the recommendations of the CDC. Therefore, symptomatic job applicants can be excluded from the place of work, and their start date can be postponed. These directions are likely to change depending on the pandemic situation. You should speak to a competent employment contract mediator if you have concerns.

Q: Is an employer allowed to withdraw a job offer (which was already made to an applicant), who has been found to be Covid-19 positive or symptomatic?

A: Yes, as of April 2020, the EEOC opined that withdrawal of job offers to a Covid positive or symptomatic applicant is legal according to the prevailing CDC guidelines. But to understand the current legal position on this issue, a knowledgeable Boston employment mediator can help.

Q: Is the federal government’s WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) implicated when the employer wants to lay off workers temporarily because of Covid-19?

employment contract mediatorA: If the company is defined as an employer as per the WARN Act, any layoff that exceeds six months will be considered a loss of employment. Therefore, in case of a mass layoff or shutdown of a business facility, a notice to workers is required. Similarly, if the work hours are reduced by more than 50 percent per month during a consecutive period of six months, it could be considered a loss of employment. In this case too, the employer must give a notice under the WARN Act in the event of a mass layoff.

Protect Your Rights with Help from a Boston Employment Mediator

Covid-19 pandemic has created a stressful situation for employees in several ways. During this challenging time, an employment lawsuit may only further aggravate your stress. The experts at Shapiro Mediation Services will provide you the right legal guidance so that you can determine the best path forward for you. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 617.765.1040 or write to us online.

Boston Mediator: How a Mediator Can Help With Alimony Modifications

Post-divorce mediation should be considered as an option to resolve issues like alimony modification between the former spouses. Learn more!

Circumstances may change after a divorce is final. Post-divorce mediation should be considered as an option to resolve issues such as alimony modification between the former spouses. Whether you are seeking an increase of alimony amount from your ex-spouse or a reduction in your alimony payments, you should consult with a seasoned Boston mediator for the right advice.

Is Alimony Modifiable after Divorce?

Your Boston mediation attorney will first review your alimony agreement and the divorce decree to determine whether you are eligible to seek alimony modification. The alimony agreement or divorce judgment will usually specify the payment terms for alimony, including:

  •       Monthly alimony payment amount
  •       Date when the payment becomes due
  •       When the alimony will end
  •       In what circumstances the alimony payments can be modified
  •       Whether the alimony terms are non-modifiable (cannot be reduced or increased under any circumstances)

Why Alimony Mediation is Useful?

Boston mediatorIf alimony is modifiable according to the original agreement, your first preference should be to work with an accomplished Boston mediator in order to reach a settlement with your ex-spouse. Chances of friction or conflict are high even after a divorce. A skilled mediator can ensure that both parties focus on the resolution of the issue at hand rather than bring out old grudges.

Your Boston mediation lawyer can rationally explain to the other party about the significant change in your financial circumstances (such as a job loss) to reduce your payments. Conversely, they can convince the other party to increase your alimony amount if his or her income has substantially increased. Other issues such as the end of child support (when the child is emancipated) may also come into play during the negotiation for alimony modification.

When the post-divorce alimony issues are addressed through the mediation process, it provides an adequate opportunity for both sides to arrive at an understanding of each other’s change of circumstances and their unique needs. With the assistance of an experienced Boston mediator, a resolution can be reached swiftly and with the least amount of friction. Both parties can attain their full financial potential through post-divorce alimony modification in these cases.

Save on Time and Costs

Boston mediatorAfter the divorce, it is best to resolve any post-divorce dispute or modification in a pragmatic manner. While alimony changes can be requested through the court, you can avoid going through the stress and costs involved in the time-consuming court complaint process. A knowledgeable mediator in Boston can explain to you and your ex-spouse your best options specific to your case.

The mediation process can be conducted in a private and confidential setting. When both parties are willing to save on their time and costs, and more importantly, want to have more control over their decision, an alimony modification agreement may be reached in just one meeting. To ensure that the agreement reached through mediation is legally binding, your mediation lawyer will help you get it reviewed and approved by the court.

Talk to a Top-Rated Boston Mediator Today

Shapiro Mediation Services, led by dedicated Boston mediation lawyer Anna Shapiro, Esq. can help you achieve your goals through post-divorce modification. Call us today at 617.765.1040 for a free, no-obligation consultation with us, or reach us online.

Know Your Rights: Massachusetts Employee Contract Protections

Massachusetts is a worker-friendly state, where workers get various legal protections as part of their employment contract. Learn more here!

Massachusetts is a worker-friendly state with various legal protections for the workers provided as part of the employment contract. In 2018, a comprehensive law related to pay equity was passed, and in the same year, a key change was made to the law on non-compete agreements in Massachusetts.

These new laws are aimed at further protecting the employees’ interests. If you are involved in a dispute with your employer or believe that your employer has been unfair in their dealings with you, it is a good idea to consider employment mediation in Massachusetts to settle the dispute.

Fair Dealing is Implied in the Contract

employment mediation in MassachusettsEven if you do not have an employment contract or agreement in writing, a verbal contract or understanding is still valid. You will receive all the protections under employment law just like any other worker who has a written contract. Fair dealing and good faith are the implied covenants in an employment contract in Massachusetts.

Therefore, your employer is legally prohibited from misusing or violating the terms of the contract to terminate your job unfairly or deprive you of your rightful wages or commissions for the services rendered. Litigation is almost always a prolonged and expensive way to resolve employment disputes. Your best bet would be to consider the option of employment mediation in Massachusetts in order to protect your rights in a dispute with the employer. 

Labor Laws that Govern Employment Contracts

Your employment contract must be in conformance with various Massachusetts laws that govern the employment relationship. Some of the important laws in this area include:

employment mediation in MassachusettsPayment of Wages Law: This law mandates that at the time of termination, your employer must pay all the wages that may be due to you. These include any wages accrued because of unused vacation leave.)

Laws related to Leave and Time Off: In Massachusetts, your employment contract will be made with respect to several laws relating to leave of absence and time off. These include a mandatory law for Sick Leave, a law for Domestic Violence leave, and a law for “Small Necessities” Leave (this gives you time off for doctor appointments, caring for parents, and school activities of your children).

Anti-Discrimination Law: If your employer has six or more employees, this law will apply to your employment contract in Massachusetts. Unlike federal law, the state of Massachusetts imposes strict liability if your manager or supervisor indulges in sexual or other types of harassment at the workplace against you.

Paid Family and Medical Leave Law: Starting July 1st, 2019, employers in Massachusetts are contributing to a state-administered PFML (paid family and medical leave) program. The benefits will start getting paid from 2021. Any dispute related to violation of one or more of these laws can be best addressed through employment mediation in Massachusetts.

Privacy and Monitoring: Massachusetts does not have a specific law in this regard, so it may not be a part of your employment contract. However, a right to privacy statute is a part of the state laws in general. Therefore, the law will protect against unreasonable seeking of personal data, drug testing, and workplace searches.

Consider Employment Mediation Massachusetts for Dispute Resolution

Shapiro Mediation Services offers top professional employment mediation while maintaining the highest ethics and legal standards. We have the expertise to mediate and help resolve all types of employment contract-related disputes. For a free consultation, call us at 617.765.1040 or complete this brief online form.

I Received an Unfavorable Paternity Result: Can a Boston Mediator Help Me?

A relationship between unmarried parents can create paternity issues if they decide to end the relationship. Here is what you need to know.

A relationship between unmarried parents can create paternity issues if at some point they decide to end the relationship. One of the most important legal issues that parents in this situation may confront in Massachusetts includes establishing who is the father of the child? Other issues may include child support payment calculations and visitation schedules.

A skilled Boston mediator can help you resolve contentious issues related to paternity through a collaborative mediation process. They can also help ensure that you and the other co-parent can arrive at an out-of-court agreement regarding child support, time-sharing, and other issues.

What Paternity Matters?

Boston mediatorWithout legally establishing paternity, a father will not have any rights to be involved in the child’s life. But if as the child’s father, you have failed to establish paternity or you are dissatisfied with the court’s order related to child support or visitation, you can seek a modification of the court order.

The best way to approach these situations would be to engage the services of a Boston mediation attorney who can help both parties reach mutually acceptable resolutions of paternity and related matters. Rather than entering into prolonged, stressful, and expensive litigation, mediating the paternity case is often beneficial for both sides.

Your Boston mediator can help ensure that you and the co-parent explore a solution to all contentious issues in a spirit of cooperation. They will help both parents recognize that their child’s best interests matter more than their own in this situation.  

How a Boston Mediation Attorney can Help?

A seasoned Boston mediator will encourage both parents to explain their respective positions in a clear, respectful, and rational manner. Although paternity issues can be fraught with emotion, the mediator will focus on providing creative solutions and options that may not be available in court.

In some cases, if the man acknowledges that he is not the child’s biological father but wishes to be a part of the child’s life, the mediator may present that view clearly before the child’s mother. With skillful negotiation, the co-parents may agree on the issue of paternity without requiring any confirmation of parentage through a DNA test.  

Boston mediatorOnce paternity has been established, a Boston mediation attorney can guide parents to discuss other critical matters that involve the child. These may include the goals of each parent regarding the child’s upbringing, the amount of child support payments that would suit both sides and would also conform to the law, and the amount of time that each parent would spend with the child.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage

A Boston mediator may be able to help resolve differences, and the unmarried co-parents may agree to who the father is. If this agreement is reached through mediation, paternity can be established easily. Both parties will have to sign a form in Massachusetts, which is called the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage. Through this method, the father’s rights and responsibilities as a legal father can be established, and also the child will receive rights.

Schedule a Consultation with a Dedicated Boston Mediation Lawyer

At Shapiro Mediation Services, we realize how emotionally challenging and sensitive the paternity issues can be. Our committed paternity mediators in Massachusetts can help you achieve your goals through a collaborative and confidential mediation process. Call us at 617.765.1040 today to schedule a free consultation with one of our mediators or contact us online.

Coping With Covid: 3 Tips to De-escalate Marital Stress Situations

The Covid-19 crisis has increased marital stress in many cases. Here are 3 tips to de-escalate marital stress situations in your life!

The Covid-19 crisis has not only taken a toll on the health and finances of large sections of the population but also increased marital stress in many cases. The new work-from-home paradigm, reduced socialization and minimal opportunities to break away from routine or take leisure trips are contributing to friction in marital relationships.

If you are contemplating a divorce or separation, it is prudent to discuss your situation with a trusted Massachusetts mediation lawyer. Here are a few proven tips that should help reduce your marital stress in these times.

Acknowledge the New Challenges

massachusetts mediation lawyerIt is important to recognize that the ‘new normal’ post-pandemic is not easy to cope with. The uncertainty and risk of infection have not disappeared, and worries continue to linger on. Joblessness has increased and business is now hard because of low consumer confidence. In the midst of all this, you and your spouse are expected to work from home, look after the kids, doing the cooking and other household chores, while taking precautions against the COVID risks all the while.

It is time to be gentle on yourself and your spouse, and reduce your expectations from each other. Focus on the immediate tasks at hand without worrying too much about tomorrow. However, if you believe the marriage has broken beyond redemption, your first step should be to consult with a dedicated Massachusetts mediation lawyer.

Give Space to Each Other

Some couples during these times become more interdependent, while some others seem to drift apart. You can minimize marital conflict by respecting the private space of your spouse and encouraging him or her to do the same for you. Set aside some private “me” time for yourself. You may like to go for a walk or do some physical exercises, meditation, or yoga in the privacy and comfort of your own room for 30 minutes a day.

If you are both working, then avoid interfering with or commenting on each other’s professional engagements or performance as far as possible. Set up your respective WFH workspaces sufficiently apart so that there is no distraction while you are at work. However, despite all efforts, if you find that the marital relationship cannot be repaired, it may be time to talk to a knowledgeable Massachusetts mediation lawyer.

Do Your Part Diligently

Sharing of household work is no longer an option, but a necessity in most homes post Covid-19. Even where one spouse is the sole breadwinner, they still have a responsibility to contribute to the domestic work in some ways and remain proactively involved in the children’s upbringing.

Make frank communication with your spouse regarding the division of work to understand his or her expectations. If you are both working, you may either assign different chores to each other or choose different days to do your work in order to accommodate each other’s work schedules.

Consult with a Competent Massachusetts Mediation Lawyer

Shapiro Mediation Services has been serving the communities in Massachusetts and South Florida with high-quality family law mediation services. Our compassionate legal team, led by Anna Shapiro, Esq., enjoys the trust of a large number of families and other clients across the region. To speak to one of our experienced family law mediators, set up a free consultation by calling us at 617.765.1040 or write to us online.

How to Set up a Remote Meditation Space in Your Home

Many people are not choosing virtual mediation to resolve their disputes. Learn how to open a remote mediation space in your home here!

In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people want to choose the option of virtual mediation to resolve their disputes. A resourceful and capable remote Massachusetts mediation attorney can offer these services as effectively as in-person mediation. Here are some of the guidelines that should help you set up a convenient space for remote mediation at home.

Separate the Mediation Space from Your Living Area

As far as possible, you should set up a dedicated space for the virtual mediation proceedings. It could be a separate room or at least a relatively secluded area of your home where wi-fi connectivity is not a concern. This will allow children and other members of your household to carry on their routine activities freely, while you can engage in your mediation process without getting distracted.

Optimize the Space for Efficient Communication

virtual mediationBefore the scheduled date of the online meeting with your remote Massachusetts mediation attorney and the other parties to the dispute, you should consider the following issues:

Power and Broadband Access: The space where you set up your laptop or another device for your remote mediation should have power outlets and interruption-free Internet connectivity.

Noise: Before setting up your space for online mediation, check whether the place is close to a high traffic area, or is too noisy for any reason. If this is the case, you may try to make the space soundproof, or at least used noise-canceling headphones.

Light: Choose a space that receives adequate natural light from a window. If that is not possible, make sure the room has sufficient lighting to enable other people to view you clearly on their screens. You may also keep a desk lamp if you are going to read or use any documents during virtual mediation.

Seating: Preferably, you should use a chair with an adjustable height so that you can match it with the height of your laptop camera and screen. Sit erect and place the screen approximately at eye height in order to present an active and healthy posture. If necessary, you can use some books or other objects to raise the height of the monitor on your desk.

Right Tools for Communication

Here are some tools that will facilitate clear and smooth communication during the virtual mediation process:

Conference Software: Your remote Massachusetts mediation attorney may recommend you to install a software program such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Meetings. This will facilitate an effective virtual conference. It is best to have a test run in advance to ensure that the program works well with your computer system.

virtual mediationWebcam: If you are going to use a laptop, the webcam will most likely be embedded in your monitor already. But if you are using a desktop or an old device, you may have to purchase a webcam separately and install it in the right position for providing a clear view to others. If necessary, you may also use your smartphone or another mobile device for your remote mediation.

Microphone: While your laptop may already have an inbuilt microphone, it is better to set up a separate microphone. This will avoid picking up unnecessary sounds, such as background noise, notifications, and typing of the keys on your keyboard. If you wish to only use the inbuilt microphone, you should first change the settings of notifications to silent mode.

Work with a Remote Massachusetts Mediation Attorney

Speak to one of the mediators at Shapiro Mediation Services today to learn more about the virtual mediation process. Call 617.765.1040 to schedule a free consultation with us at our Massachusetts or South Florida office, or send us an online message.