Posted and up-to-date 8/2022
Starting in June, 2020, Maine courts began allowing video or telephone mediation in Family Matter cases through video or telephone. As of August 2022, some courts have begun in-person mediations again although most mediations will still be over zoom. Check your mediation scheduling notice from the court for information about your mediation. If you are still unsure, call the district court presiding over your case to ask whether your mediation will be in person or online.
What is Zoom?
Zoom is a program that allows you to have virtual video meetings on your computer, phone, or tablet.
Important Zoom Mediation Facts
- The mediation may last up to 3 hours.
- You must have strong, stable interest access.
- You will need to make sure that your computer, tablet or phone is connected to a power source or you have a charger for your device.
- You must have a private, quiet space. You will want to be sure that you will not be interrupted.
- Children cannot be in the room during mediation sessions.
- You may not record the mediation. It is important to turn off all devices, including phones, Alexa, or smart speakers before the mediation begins.
- Do not text or use the chat function on Zoom to communicate with the other party. You should only communicate with the other party through the mediator or your attorney.
- Confidentiality: Only the people you see on your screen (or see with a graphic of their phone) can hear what is being said.
- You should talk to the mediator instead of using the “chat” function for anything that you want to keep private from the other party.
How does the process work?
- The court will send you a notice that tells you the date and time of the mediation.
- Before the mediation, the mediator will email you a Zoom invitation.
How do I download Zoom?
You don’t need to download Zoom unless you use your smart phone, but it is much easier if you already have it.
We highly recommend that you download zoom before your mediation. This will let you practice using it, and make sure you are using the settings that are best for you.
On a computer there are 2 options to download Zoom.
- Go to https://zoom.us/ and click the Sign up, It’s Free button at the top right of the screen. This option requires you to create an account.
- Zoom will instruct you to Create a Zoom Account and type in your email address.
- Zoom will send you an email instructing you to activate the account
- Follow the instructions on the screen to sign up and download Zoom.
- Go to https://zoom.us/ and put your mouse over Resources at the top right of the screen.
- Click on Download Zoom Client.
- Select the first option “Zoom Client for Meetings"
- Follow the installation instructions on your computer screen.
Using Zoom on your smartphone or tablet
- Download it from the App Store or Google Play
- If you are using a smart phone you must download the Zoom app
How to join the Zoom meeting
The Zoom invitation from the mediator will include a link to join the mediation through Zoom. The invitation will also have the numbers you can use to call in.
- The e-mail invitation will say “Join Zoom Meeting” followed by a link.
- Click the link. This will open a web browser.
- Select “Open.zoom.us” to open the Zoom application on your computer
- You may be required to enter the password in the email you received.
- If you have not already set up Zoom on your device, you will be asked to allow Zoom to access your microphone and camera.
In the invitation you received from the mediator will also contain numbers to call in from your phone. It will look something like this:
Meeting ID: 123 4567 8912 Password: 98765 One tap mobile +13126266799,, 12345678912# US (Chicago) +16468769923,, 12345678912# US (New York) Dial by your location +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 876 9923 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Meeting ID: 123 4567 8912 Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/adSztOUXXS
You should dial the New York number (+1 646 876 9923)
When prompted – enter the Meeting ID and the password provided in the Zoom invitation.
One Tap Mobile – if you are on a smart phone, you can select this option. Your phone will automatically dial the number and insert the Meeting ID.
What actually happens in the mediation?
What happens after I join the Zoom Mediation?
- You will be placed in the “waiting room” until the mediator lets you into the “main room.”
- You will not be able to see or hear anyone else in the waiting room.
- Make sure your video and audio is turned on (see “How do I control my Audio and Video” below).
- If you are a little early, you may get a notice saying “Please wait for the Host to start the Meeting.”
- If you see this notice, you just need to wait until the mediator is ready.
What happens during the mediation?
- Once the mediator is ready, they will let you into the “main room” individually.
- After a brief introduction, the mediator will send you to a “breakout room.”
- This is a separate space virtual for only you and your attorney.
- The mediator will then “enter” your “breakout room” for a private meeting with you and your attorney if you have one or support person.
- The mediator may ask you who else is there and ask that you to rotate the camera so they can see your whole room.
- Typically, you will stay in your “breakout room” for the entire mediation. The mediator will go between your “breakout room” and the other party’s “breakout room” to discuss the issues for mediation.
How does the mediator make the Report of Completed Mediation Session?
- The mediator will fill out the report during the mediation.
- If you are using a computer or smart phone, the mediator will be able to show you the report on your computer or phone screen.
- If you are calling in, the mediator will read the report to you.
- The mediator will type any agreements you and the other party make into the report. You will be able to see the written agreements before they are finalized.
How will I sign the Mediation Report?
- After the forms are finalized the mediator will ask if the forms are correct.
- If the forms are correct, they will type “/s/” and then your name. If you give the mediator permission, this is will count as an electronic signature.
- The mediator will then email you and anyone else involved in the case the final forms.
Zoom Tips and Troubleshooting
What happens if I have Zoom stops working?
- If you are disconnected and able to rejoin the mediation go back to the invitation e-mail and follow those instructions.
- If you have other difficulties, you should call, text or email the mediator. The mediator will give you their email you and email before the mediation starts or in the invitation email.
How do I control my audio and video?
- You can turn your video on and off by select “Stop/Start Video on the bottom left hand corner of the screen. If you don’t want anyone else to hear what you are saying, you can mute/unmute yourself. This is also on the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
- On a smart phone, the button to unmute and mute yourself and turn the video on and off is also on the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
- If you don’t see any options, you may have to tap your screen.
What if I don’t want to see the other party?
- Tell the mediator privately.
- Ask the mediator to require the other party to turn off their video if you’re in the same “room.”
What if I don’t want the other party to see me?
- Call in instead of using the computer
- Turn off your video. (see “How do I control my audio and video?”)
- Cover your computer, cell phone or tablet camera with a piece of paper.
Can I have a support person in my breakout room?
If you have a support person, they may be able to be in the breakout room. You should speak with the mediator if you have a support person. You can email the mediator ahead of time letting them know that you would like to have a support person present.
Where can I find Zoom tutorials and Instructional Videos?
Quick Start Guide for New Users
Joining a Meeting
Joining and Configuring Audio & Video – Instructional Video (includes subtitles in various languages)