Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How do I get started?
When you contact us, we will do a free phone consultation with you to briefly discuss your dispute and determine which dispute resolution method would best suit your needs, if any. If as a result of our discussion, you decided to pursue mediation, we will schedule an orientation session. During the orientation session, we will discuss the concept of mediation, the role of the mediator, tools we have found to be useful in having a successful session, and answer any questions you may have. Then you can decide if you would like to pursue mediation as a process to resolve your dispute. If you would like to move forward with mediation, we will then have you complete some forms and schedule the first session.
Q: Are there cases that shouldn’t be mediated?
Although, alternative dispute resolution has proven to be effective in many conflict scenarios, there are some issues where mediation may not be the best possible option for resolution. For instance, in cases where individuals do not feel they can express themselves or their feelings effectively without fear of retaliation, mediation would not be a viable option for them.
Q: Do we need an attorney?
The goal of mediation is to empower the participants to express themselves, their own thoughts and feelings. However, if you have already contracted an attorney, and would like them to attend, they are welcome to do so, as long as you feel comfortable representing yourself during the mediation. You are free to seek professional advice at any point. Since we firmly support our participants’ desire to make informed decisions, we can provide you with a list of consultants we have working relationships with, for you to contact if you choose.
Q. What values and goals do you emphasize in your practice?
We strongly believe in effective communication. Therefore, we encourage the participants in mediation to share their stories. While emotions tend to run high during conflict, we believe the mediator should control the exchange and guide the participants through the process.
Q. Will the mediator prepare a written agreement or memorandum if the parties reach a resolution?
During the session, the mediator will write down the areas of agreement to verify with the participants that the information was captured correctly and everyone has agreed to the terms. After the session, the agreement will be formally typed and a copy will be sent to all participants involved in the mediation session to review, approve and return to the mediator. There will be no pressure to sign the agreement during the session, unless participants agree to sign. Upon receipt of all signed copies of the agreement, the final agreement will be sent to all participants for their records.
Q. Will our written agreement be legally binding?
Yes. A written agreement, which has been signed by all participants involved in a mediation session, is considered a legally binding contract.
Q. What ethical standards will you follow?
We abide by the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure, Title 17, Alternative Dispute Resolution. We also adhere to the Maryland Mediation & Conflict Resolution Organization (MACRO) Standards for Mediators.