Every mediation is different and every mediator’s approach is different. Here’s what you can generally expect at Resolution Point.
The first time we meet, we will have an Orientation Session where we will go over the general mediation process and the specifics of how it usually takes place at Resolution Point. In this 1-2 hour meeting, we’ll talk about several important characteristics of mediation:
- Mediation is confidential (although there are a few important exceptions). In general, you can count on what you say during mediation not being repeated in court if you can’t reach agreement.
- Mediation is voluntary. Once underway, at any point in the process any participant can end the mediation and find alternatives to resolve some or all of the issues. We will usually test the reasons for the termination to be sure that the decision is well thought out, rather than a spontaneous response to a particularly difficult topic.
- The style of mediation we use at Resolution Point, which includes both facilitative and directive mediation.
- The differences between legal information and legal advice. Mediators can provide information about processes and laws, but they cannot provide advice on how the law would apply to the specifics of the participants’ circumstances. There is a fine line between these two and we’ll discuss the differences.
- Full disclosure is critical to the process. Mediation is not a way to avoid providing information that might be important to anyone’s decision-making.
- Timing and costs of mediation.
- We will review an Agreement to Mediate.
Thank you for all of your help. You made the mediation as simple, fair and comfortable for both of us as possible. Just as you were recommended to my husband by a friend, I would recommend you to anyone needing mediation services. — CMC
If you decide to mediate with Resolution Point and yours is a family mediation, we will provide you with a handbook of background materials including Virginia statutes that may affect your mediation decisions, and in most cases you’ll also receive financial forms and data sheets that will help you organize your financial records so we can be more efficient in our sessions.
We’ll talk about the range of topics we’ll need to examine during the mediation sessions.
- You’ll make decisions about the order in which we’ll discuss the issues.
- We’ll talk in very general terms about the legal environment that might affect your case. For example, if we’re talking about property in a divorce case, we’ll talk about how a court might identify “marital property” and how a court might “equitably” distribute it. We have these conversations not to replace legal advice that you might get from your own counsel, but to give you legal information that can help you with decision-making in the mediation.
- We’ll also explore any immediate issues that need tentative resolutions while we’re working on longer-term agreements.
For a separation or divorce, we may begin to tackle some of the more pressing financial issues and decisions.
Detailed notes displayed. At each session, your mediator will take detailed notes that you’ll read on a large screen while they’re being created. You’ll be actively involved in making sure that what you’ve said (and what everyone else has said) is captured accurately. The mediation is confidential (with exceptions), but the confidential notes will help everyone keep track of where things are while the mediation is taking place.
Decisions will get made at your speed. But they also don’t count until there’s a signed agreement. This way we can make progress without worrying that something that you decide now won’t make sense as other decisions are made later. Nothing is final until everything is final (unless there’s an interim written agreement).
Financial analysis. Especially where extensive financial analysis is involved, as decisions are made, we use sophisticated software that shows the impact of your decisions on your short-term and long-term financial health. And you’ll see the results of the computer analysis on the screen as the decisions get made.