You and your partner have both been to a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) and you both agree that you want to try to reach a settlement in your case, perhaps about finances or children. Your mediator may suggest that shuttle mediation is the best way to do this.
In shuttle mediation, you and your partner stay in separate rooms while the mediator meets with each of you separately. The mediator then “shuttles” between you to help you come up with solutions. This can take longer than if you were in the same room together, because the mediator has to communicate back and forth between you. Shuttle mediation can be done face to face, or you can also do it online with everyone communicating through the mediator.
Whether you’re having a shuttle mediation or a joint mediation, your mediator will still discuss the issues that need to be resolved and will work with you to find a solution that works for both of you. Depending on the situation, your mediator may be able to talk with you about your emotions and feelings as well. This can be useful because it may make it easier for you to discuss your views on the issues and how to resolve them.
In a recent study on shuttle mediation, parents who were able to discuss their parenting arrangements with each other in mediation felt safer and less fearful than those who did not do so. They were also more satisfied with the outcome of their mediation. The researchers highlighted that it was important to ensure that safety protocols were in place when using shuttle mediation where there had been a history of domestic violence.
However, the mediator should always be mindful that they cannot guarantee that their participants’ emotional states will not interfere with their ability to mediate. In a case where one participant’s emotions may be so high that they are unhelpful, the mediator should still provide feedback to the spouses individually about their positions in an attempt to steer them away from untenable positions and towards compromises that a judge would likely approve. This may require the mediator to paraphrase and summarise the information they are hearing from each of the spouses.
The researchers concluded that even in cases where there was no history of domestic violence, shuttle mediation can be effective, provided that the participants follow safety protocols and are not putting themselves at risk. Moreover, they recommend that future studies investigate whether there are ways to improve the quality of communication in mediation using techniques other than face to face meetings.
Ultimately, it’s essential that you and your partner discuss the options for how you wish to conduct your mediation with your mediator at your MIAM appointment. They can then advise you of the best way to move forward, which might include both joint and shuttle mediation, or other ways of reaching a solution. If you have any questions about the process, feel free to get in touch. shuttle mediation