What is Mediation?
Mediation is a private, confidential method of resolving conflicts of all kinds while avoiding costly, ongoing legal battles. Mediation enables you to make the crucial decisions that affect your family, your business, and your community; in litigation or arbitration a third party makes those decisions for you. During the process, a trained, impartial mediator assists you in making well-informed decisions that meet the significant needs of all concerned.
Why Choose Mediation?
Whether you are contemplating separation or divorce, debating about the care of an elderly parent, or involved in a dispute with your employer, you know how painful and disruptive unresolved conflict can be. The primary goal of mediation is to achieve a mutually-agreeable solution that allows employers and employees to work together productively in the workplace, divorcing couples to continue to communicate as parents, and neighbors to remain neighborly. With the assistance of a mediator, participants can work together productively in spite of their disagreement.
How Does Mediation Work?
The mediator conducts an orientation session during which the mediation process is explained in detail. The next step is the gathering of relevant information and documentation to insure that all parties are fully informed before entering into an agreement. The participants are then encouraged to begin working towards a resolution that meets their unique requirements. Once a tentative agreement has been reached, a memorandum of agreement is drafted by the mediator. Remember that in mediation, you, not the mediator, decide the outcome of your conflict.
What Issues Will Be Decided?
The issues that are handled in mediation vary depending upon the type of dispute. Your mediator will help you consider the issues of concern to you and the other parties involved in your mediation as well as related matters that may be helpful in thoroughly resolving your dispute. In all instances the participants make their decisions only after considering both their short and long term interests.
If your dispute involves workplace concerns, our mediators are prepared to assist you in making your own decisions regarding a broad range of issues including, but not limited to, how to resume a productive and harmonious working relationship, compensation for agreed upon benefits and wages, disabilities accommodations, career growth, etc.
Peninsula Mediation and ADR also assists separating and divorcing couples make comprehensive agreements that address property issues, parenting arrangements, and support matters.
Finally, mediation is best suited to the resolution of disputes in which the parties need to have some form of ongoing relationship. Other alternative dispute resolution processes are often better suited to the resolution of disputes involving other issues and concerns. Our staff is knowledgeable in helping you select an alternative dispute resolution process that is best suited the the nature of your unique dispute.
Will I need an Attorney?
Many participants in mediation find it helpful to consult with an attorney about the legal parameters of their dispute, and to factor that advice into their negotiations in the mediation. On the other hand, it is important to remember that consulting with an attorney about your legal rights, having an attorney review a draft agreement resulting from the mediation, or having attorney representation in the actual mediation sessions is truly up to you. The need for attorney involvement also varies depending upon the subject matter of your dispute. Peninsula Mediation & ADR has established a referral network of attorneys who are willing to review mediated agreements on a consultation basis, thereby eliminating the need for a costly retainer.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
The number of sessions required to complete a mediated agreement varies greatly depending upon the type of dispute and the ability of the participants to negotiate both during and outside of sessions. However, in all cases, how quickly the process moves along is determined by the participants and not by the availability of a court date.
The average divorce agreement requires from four to six sessions with sessions typically lasting from one and one-half to two hours each.
The average workplace dispute takes four to six hours, usually within the context of a single conference.
What is the Cost?
Mediation is a cost effective way to resolve difficult disputes. Not only do you save possible legal fees, you save time, relationships, and other resources. Instead investing in an adversarial process with an uncertain outcome which may have additional costs, you decide how much time will be spent in the mediation itself and any costs associated with the terms of agreement. The cost of mediation and other ADR services varies depending upon the type and length of dispute, and the number of mediators involved. Our professional fees may be charged on an hourly basis or a per case basis.
If you are a private client (i.e. not procuring services under one of our contracts), we typically charge by the hour. Our staff is available to give you a cost quotation for private mediation services. Court related funding may also be available for some types of court referred disputes.
If you are procuring mediation or other ADR services under one of our contracts with GSA, the Department of Navy, or the Department of Homeland Security, NASA HQ, Veterans Administration, or Department of Transportation, please see the “Special Users” section of our home page for more information.
What are the Benefits?
While the goal of mediation is to produce a win-win resolution, mediation also:
* Requires significantly less time than litigation.
* Costs far less (as little as one-tenth of the cost of a litigated dispute).
* Allows you to control the decisions that affect your life and the lives of those you care about.
* Benefits family members, neighbors, and co-workers by reducing conflict in ongoing relationships.
* Is conducted in a private, confidential setting.
* Avoids public disclosure of financial and personal matters.
* Promotes communication, enhances problem-solving skills, and encourages continued cooperation.
* Produces more satisfactory, long-lasting agreements than litigation because the process is voluntary.
Are Your Mediators Qualified?
Primary mediators affiliated with Peninsula Mediation & ADR hold graduate degrees in relevant fields of conflict management, law, psychology, etc. Here in Virginia, our mediators are certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia to handle all levels of court referred disputes. In other states, our contractors have relevant certification or standing with statewide or national ADR organizations. Our mediators are active in professional organizations such as the Association for Conflict Resolution and its regional affiliates, the American Bar Association section on Dispute Resolution, the Virginia Mediation Network and other statewide mediation/ADR organizations, etc.