The Future of Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods in California

Desk setup for a remote mediation with a family attorney

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the way we live our daily lives, go to work, communicate with our families, and hold meetings all changed. Even as we moved into the new year, many companies set new ways of working for the long term, with hybrid remote and in-office plans for when business “returns to normal” or otherwise implementing new flexibility for their employees and their clients. The legal field—particularly family law—is no exception.

With many people required to abide by “stay-at-home” orders, or preferring to avoid in-person contact with non–family members, many law firms transitioned to completely remote alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. This particular imprint of COVID-19 will remain cemented in law firms’ operations long term.

Let’s take a look at the promising virtual future of alternative dispute resolution methods in California in particular, and why remote mediation may benefit legal clients long term.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods and the Global COVID-19 Pandemic

During the pandemic, a growing number of California attorneys transitioned to video conferencing technology to host remote meetings with their clients. This provided a helpful resource for couples seeking to resolve divorce matters outside of court and from arguably the safest place to be during the pandemic: their homes. For this reason, online mediation is expected to have immense staying power beyond COVID-19.

In fact, court closures fueled by the pandemic caused many divorce trials and family law hearings to be removed from court calendars. As a result, these matters accumulated, leaving courts to work through their substantial backlogs while also tackling new matters. However, online alternative dispute resolution in California has helped to minimize disruption and delays by allowing divorcing individuals and other types of civil litigants to resolve their disputes virtually.

Remote Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods Are Convenient All Around

Another benefit of remote alternative dispute resolution in California is that you and your future ex-spouse can take part in mediation sessions no matter where you are located. This is particularly invaluable if the other party is in a different town, state, or country, for example. All you need is a secure wireless connection and a computer.

On the contrary, when you have to meet a mediator and the other party in person, scheduling your sessions can be frustrating. After all, you have to take into consideration the mediator’s schedule as well as the other party’s schedule. On top of that, you have to consider travel logistics, such as your estimated travel time, where you’ll have to park, and the traffic conditions you’ll have to face.

When you all meet virtually, however, none of the above mentioned matters are considerations anymore. You simply have to carve out a little time for each session and then connect from any area that works best for you.

Also, in addition to being convenient, online mediation may make you feel more secure than you would in an unfamiliar setting. This can, in turn, bolster your confidence and thus encourage you to engage more during your mediation sessions.

person on a laptop in a virtual remote meeting with a cup of coffee

Online Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods Promote the Easy Sharing of Documents As Well As Collaboration

When you are mediating online, you’re already in the perfect position to edit/review documents with your future ex-spouse as well as your neutral third-party mediator. In fact, by using your video platform’s screen sharing capabilities, you can all review a single line or point of a relevant document at the same time.

Simply put, online alternative dispute resolution in California means a more efficient review of documents and, in turn, a faster resolution of the divorce process for both you and the other party.

On top of this, collaboration with professionals, such as mental health or financial experts, is easy to achieve with online mediation. For instance, these parties can join your virtual mediation sessions to provide guidance with child custody/visitation or the valuing of assets, respectively.

Remote Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods Save Money and Time

Finally, the future of alternative dispute resolution in California looks overwhelmingly virtual because online remediation has been proven to save both money and time.

With online mediation, you don’t have to spend time and gas going to multiple in-person sessions. In addition, you may not have to take time off from work—and potentially lose money in the process—to attend in-person sessions. Even if you do have to miss some work, you don’t have to miss as much when you choose online mediation, as you can easily schedule your sessions around both work and daycare schedules.

Take Advantage of Online Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods in California Today

If you are interested in reaching a divorce settlement agreement with your future ex-spouse in California, I, attorney Michael C. MacNeil, can help. I can help you to pursue a fair settlement with the other party—one that protects your rights and reflects your best interests—while utilizing online alternative dispute resolution methods.

I stand out in the family law industry in that I truly care about the client rather than the bottom line. For this reason, I personally attend to every client and consistently provide them with the compassion, empathy, and legal guidance they need. I also make sure that none of my clients falls prey to bureaucratic tricks such as overbilling.

Get in touch with me today for a free consultation as well as an introduction to remote mediation. We’ll take a close look at your divorce matters, such as property division and child custody, and go over the proper next steps given the circumstances surrounding your divorce.

About Michael MacNeil

Michael C. MacNeil is a San Diego Family Law and Criminal Defense attorney. With a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, MacNeil has a solid understanding of our justice system. As a member of the State Bar of California, MacNeal can practice before all courts in the state. MacNeil believes that the law should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. With over 20 years of experience, Michael C. MacNeil is passionate about the law and will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for you. Call Mr. MacNeil at 858-922-7098.