Suitable for high conflict situations
Shuttle Mediation is a form of mediation which may be appropriate for families with a history of high conflict. This may include family violence, where there is a concern for safety or due to a court order. In such situations it may be preferable to minimise, or eliminate, the time the parties spend together in mediation in order to reduce the risk of intimidation or aggression during the mediation process
Occasionally, couples in high conflict situations find it challenging to have the important discusses needed to reach an agreement about their children’s issues or their property matters. Your mediator may also find it appropriate to recommend shuttle mediation as the ideal process in some cases.
What is the process?
Pre-mediation assessment – You will each have separate sessions with the FDRP where they will listen to you and help clarify your concerns. Here they will provide you with information about the process, suggest appropriate referrals to support or legal services, and prepare you for FDR. They will also assess whether your specific situation is suitable for FDR.
A prior assessment and screening conducted separately with between the both of you will be organised with the mediator will hear your side of the story, including clarifying any concerns you may have, identify the outcomes you are seeking and assess your suitability for FDR. They will also inform you about the process, including providing referrals where appropriate to support or legal services.
A joint session will then be arranged in a format where you do not come into contact with each other. This involves two separate rooms, out of sight and hearing of each other, often with different arrival and departure times to maintain non-contact.
After an introductory period with each party to explain how mediation will work and going through the required paperwork, the mediator travels or “shuttles” between the two rooms, usually with a pad in hand, taking messages back and forth and operating two whiteboards with the same content written thereon; moving a portable whiteboard, or using printouts to take to each party.
If it is conducted online, this will be in different ‘breakout’ rooms where you will not see or hear each other, and the mediator will come in and out of the rooms to communicate what the other person would like to discuss with them.
Confidentiality in your sessions
Your mediator will only communicate the things you are comfortable with putting through the other party and will check in with you before and during the process.