Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS MEDIATION?
ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Alternative Conflict Resolution
Mediation is a process where the people in dispute meet with mediators, who guide them through a structured, voluntary, and confidential process to resolve their conflicts. Mediators are unbiased, impartial third parties who provide a safe, neutral environment and promote effective communication. They assist the parties in reaching their own mutually agreeable solution.
Mediation encourages collaboration between the parties so that creative solutions can be explored and lasting solutions can be found. The process is effective in both legal situations where a lawsuit has been filed and in circumstances where a non-legal approach is preferred. It is a non-adversarial, respectful and flexible process.
WHO ARE THE MEDIATORS?
Mediators for the WVDRC are community members, who have taken specialized training to become certified mediators. They represent the diversity of our communities with regard to age, gender, education, language abilities and ethnic communities.
WHAT ARE THE MEDIATOR QUALIFICATIONS?
Mediators are certified according to the policies and requirements of Resolution Washington, (the Washington State Association of Dispute Resolution Centers), and Washington Mediation Association.
Certification includes taking a minimum of 40 hours of classroom training, passing a written exam, participating in a rigorous supervised internship that includes observation of mediation sessions, mediation practice sessions and a minimum 24 hours of mediation experience.
Additional training is required for Family Law Mediators, Small Claims Mediators, and all other mediation specializations.
Mediators must also adhere to the Standards of Practice of Resolution Washington and the Washington Mediation Association.
WHY CHOOSE MEDIATION?
DOABLE AND DURABLE RESOLUTION
Conflict is a normal part of life. It can also be an opportunity for connection and understanding.
Successfully resolving conflict hinges on engaging in difficult conversations in a safe, supportive environment.
Serving as impartial facilitators, our trained, certified mediators provide a safe, productive space where people in conflict can express their needs and concerns, identify common ground and work toward mutually beneficial agreements.
Mediators follow a process and use a variety of tools to help people to move through conflict with integrity, safety, and respect.
WHAT CONFLICTS CAN BE MEDIATED?
TYPES OF MEDIATION
The Dispute Resolution Center generally handles the following types of cases:
Marriage Dissolution (Divorce)
Parenting Plans (includes parents who never married)
Revisions or updates of parenting plans
Partnership dissolution (business or personal)
Senior citizen issues
Small claims court cases
Neighborhood disagreements about noise, children, pets, etc.
If you don't see your specific situation listed here, please call the DRC to see if mediation might be appropriate for you.
HOW LONG DOES MEDIATION TAKE?
Mediation sessions are scheduled within two weeks of receiving payment.
A typical mediation session is planned for three hours.
If the mediation is not resolved in the first three-hour session, a second session can be scheduled. WVDRC recommends planning for a second session for more complex issues.
Fees for a second mediation sessions do not require the one-time non-refundable administrative fee.
WHAT DOES MEDIATION COST?
Cost effective dispute resolution process
Fees are based on a sliding-fee scale according to each party's income. The range is from $25 to $170 per 3-hour mediation session. We also charge a $25 administrative fee per party for the initial mediation session.
Mediation fees for organizations and businesses generally vary according to the length of the sessions, size of the organization or business, and whether a contract exists between the DRC and the organization or business. For a quote for your organization or business, please contact the DRC office directly.
No one is turned away from services due to an inability to pay.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE A MEDIATION?
Serving Chelan & Douglas counties
To determine if mediation is a good fit for your situation, call our office at office (509) 888-0957. Our office hours are Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Our Customer Care Coordinator will explain the process, learn more about your issues, and, if needed, reach out to the other party or parties involved.
Mediation is a voluntary process. Even if you are not sure that you want to mediate, give us a call to learn more and explore options.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MEDIATION SESSION?
Mediation is your process
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MEDIATION?
Each party may bring pictures, letters, contracts or any type of record that might help the other party understand the party’s position in the dispute and support accuracy in writing the settlement agreement.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND THE MEDIATION SESSION?
All the parties in the dispute that are needed and have authority to make a decision for the party should be at the session.
In addition to the parties and mediators, the following may be included in the session:
Witnesses (if pre-approved by the mediator and other party)
Attorneys (if needed & both parties agree)
Advocates (if pre-approved by the mediator)
Observers (WVDRC mediators-in-training)
ARE THERE RESOURCES TO HELP PREPARE FOR MEDIATION?
If you are mediating a parenting plan for the first time, please contact Superior Court to obtain the latest parenting plan documents prior to mediation.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING MEDIATION SESSION?
Participation in mediation is voluntary and requires that you participate in ‘good faith’. That means that you must be willing to negotiate, be truthful, and listen to the other party. It is our hope that the following information will help you prepare.
Mediation sessions are scheduled in 3 hour blocks of time, are co-facilitated by volunteer mediators, and are confidential. Due to the possible length of the session, bring a snack if you think you might need one.
During the mediation, impartial co-mediators will help you communicate and negotiate with the other party to develop your own solutions. Mediators will not make decisions for you and will not take sides. Since it is not the mediator’s job to provide information, please learn about your rights and collect all the information and facts you might need before you come to the mediation.
The following is a brief outline of the mediation process:
1. Mediator Opening: Mediators explain the process, rules, and roles of the participants
2. Client Statements: You will have an uninterrupted opportunity to explain the situation from your perspective.
3. Agenda: You will develop a list of issues to be resolved.
4. Negotiations: You will work with the other party to develop solutions to each issue on your list.
5. Settlement: Once you have reached agreement with the other party, a settlement contract may be written, and becomes civil contract if all parties sign.
Remember, mediation is your process. You make all the decisions about how you want to settle your situation. Please do not sign a settlement document unless you agree with all of its provisions.
More sessions may be arranged as needed. Additional fees will be required for subsequent sessions.