Mediation FAQs

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process that helps participants have productive conversations, make decisions, and craft solutions together. Mediation is private, confidential, and voluntary. As neutrals, our mediators support all participants in their efforts to improve communication and find mutually agreed upon resolutions.

Our mediators help you explore what is most important to you, identify and gather relevant information, and brainstorm and evaluate options. To help you make informed decisions, the process can include guidance from professional advisors (e.g., lawyers, financial planners).

Why choose mediation?

Conflict is stressful. Our mediators understand the many ways in which conversations can become derailed, and throughout the mediation, they keep the conversations moving and on track.

In our experience, mediation has proven to be a cost-effective, efficient, and less stressful path to resolving conflict than litigation or other adversarial processes.

When is mediation appropriate?

Think “mediation” for situations where the parties:

• want to come to an agreement that resolves or improves their situation,
• are willing to learn about the process so that they can choose whether to participate, and
• want collaborative solutions.

If you have questions about whether mediation is appropriate in your situation, call or email us to discuss.

How is mediation different from litigation?

Mediation differs from litigation in a number of ways. Most important, in mediation, with the support of a neutral mediator(s), the parties negotiate directly with one another, rather than having their attorneys conduct the negotiations on the parties’ behalf. This offers the participants an opportunity to better understand one another’s goals, wants, and needs, to improve their communication, and to avoid the acrimony that too often seeps into the parties’ relationship when they are in litigation.

In mediation, participants decide what they want to agree to, rather than giving decision-making authority to a judge. As a result, they design solutions that are tailored specifically for them, so the resolutions tend to be more satisfying and durable than litigated outcomes.

Also, mediation is usually quicker, less expensive, and less stressful than litigation.

How long does mediation last?

Because each set of participants in mediation is different, there is no prescribed period for mediation. Depending on the scope and number of topics, and the number of participants, some mediations conclude in a single session and others require multiple meetings.

For example, adult family meetings – where adult siblings and their parents gather to talk about topics important to their family — sometimes occur on a weekend, enabling family members travelling from a distance to more easily participate. The initial meeting may address the immediate need, and the family may choose to have follow-up meeting(s) to continue or expand conversations.

Divorce mediation usually presents a common set of topics, yet each couple’s situation, needs and approach to those topics is unique. In mediations relating to divorce, post-divorce, or living together, mediation sessions are typically two hours each, and several sessions are usually needed to thoroughly address and resolve all topics of concern.

Is mediation right for you?

If you are grappling with conflict and would like to privately and collaboratively work toward resolution, mediation may well be the right choice for you. Mediation helps you design realistic, workable solutions that can improve relationships or end them peacefully, while saving time, money, and preserving emotional health.

How do you choose a mediator?

There are many factors parties may consider when selecting a mediator, including the mediator’s experience, background, location, mediation style, availability, and fees. At Agreement Resources, we believe one of the most important factors in choosing a mediator is “fit.” Most mediators offer an initial consultation, often at no charge. Listen to your gut – do you feel comfortable with the mediator(s)? Did the mediator(s) share information with you about their process and the legal process (if applicable)? Will the mediator(s) help you identify additional information and resources as necessary? Do you feel heard by the mediator(s)? No mediator is a perfect match for all parties – trust yourself and your best judgment.

Where does mediation take place?

During the pandemic, all our services are taking place online via Zoom videoconferencing.  We’ve been mediating via Zoom for years, and find online mediation to be very effective.  (We’re happy to walk you through the process if you are new to using Zoom.)

In-person mediation (pre- and post-pandemic) typically takes place in the mediator’s office space. At Agreement Resources, we conduct mediations in our main office in Norwood, MA, as well as in space available to us in Natick, MA and in Marlborough, MA. For adult family mediations or workplace mediations, we also offer mediation sessions on site or in mutually agreed upon locations. When participants are geographically dispersed or when in-person meetings may not be feasible, online mediation via secure video-conferencing can also be considered.

How does online mediation work?

Online mediation via secure video-conferencing can be an effective option when in-person mediation is not feasible or desired. The mediators meet with participants individually and together to facilitate productive conversations, enabling each participant to join the conversation from a location that is comfortable for them. Agreement Resources has been conducting online mediation since 2015, and also offers hybrid options – for example, when adult families are generally able to meet in person and one or more family members joins via videoconference from afar.

How much does mediation cost?

Most mediators charge an hourly rate for their services, which typically include conducting the mediation sessions, communicating by phone and email regarding the substance of the case, and writing the mediated agreement (if applicable). Some mediators may charge a retainer; others do not. At Agreement Resources, we do not charge a retainer, and clients pay for services as they are completed (e.g., at the end of each mediation session).

The total cost of mediation is most dependent on the length of the mediation and whether the parties require an agreement to be drafted at the conclusion of the process (a written agreement is standard at the end of the divorce mediation process). Your mediator(s) can offer more information during your consultation regarding what to expect, based on the type and scope of the topics you wish to address.

Who pays for the mediation?

The participants decide how they wish to allocate mediation fees. While often participants share fees equally, sometimes one person assumes sole responsibility for the cost of the mediation, and other times parties agree on other ways to share fees.

Why choose Agreement Resources, LLC?

The mediators at Agreement Resources are committed to helping you reach mutually agreeable decisions as collaboratively, effectively, and efficiently as possible.

We understand how stressful conflict can be, and we recognize that our clients are likely experiencing a wide range of emotions. Our mediators are skilled at creating a safe and confidential space for you to work through even the most challenging issues.

We offer the unique choice of working with two mediators or one. We frequently use a team of two mediators, as our clients find the presence of a second mediator supportive and valuable. Because we believe strongly in the value of co-mediation (with two mediators) and do not want price to be a barrier to co-mediation, our hourly fee for a co-mediation team is only slightly more than our fee for a single mediator, and is competitive with the rates of other mediators. (If you prefer – for scheduling purposes or otherwise – you may opt instead to work with one mediator.)

Our mediators work closely with you; each listens carefully to your perspective, asks important questions, provides information, and works to create a positive process in which you can make informed decisions and move forward.

What should I do if I am interested or would like more information?

If you are interested in learning more about mediation, we offer a complimentary consultation. Please contact us at 617-621-7009. One of our mediators will be pleased to speak with you about your situation and answer your questions about the process.

We look forward to speaking with you and helping you craft a resolution that works.