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., aging life care professionals, lawyers, and 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 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 family is different, and faces a different set of issues and decisions, there is no set period for mediation. Depending on the scope, the number of topics, and the number of participants, mediations may conclude after a single family meeting, or continue for two or more family meetings.

When held in-person, family meetings sometimes occur on a weekend, enabling family members traveling from a distance to more easily participate.

When meetings are held online, they tend to be shorter.  The initial meeting may address the immediate need, and the family may choose to have follow-up meeting(s) to continue or expand conversations.

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, 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 Elder Decisions® and 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?

We’ll work with you and your family to determine the best location for your family meeting – whether in-person or online – taking into account what will feel comfortable for all participants and what will enable people to more fully participate.

Sometimes we meet in-personat our office, a family member’s home, or at another mutually-agreed-upon location that is comfortable for all participants.  (While our main office is in Massachusetts, we’ve traveled to other states to serve families at locations most suitable to them.)

When participants are geographically dispersed or when in-person meetings may not be feasible, online mediation via Zoom secure video-conferencing can also be considered.

We’ve been mediating via Zoom since 2015, and find online mediation to be very effective.  (We’re happy to walk you through the process if you are new to using Zoom.)

Sometimes “hybrid” options are the best fit – combining in-person and online participation.  

We’d be happy to talk with you to explore what may work best for your family, taking into account your family’s own unique situation and needs.

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 via Zoom, both individually and together, enabling each participant to join the conversation from a location that is comfortable for them.

We’ve been conducting online mediation since 2015, and also offer hybrid options – for example, when most family members  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 family meetings and individual meetings; documenting agreements and next steps; and communicating by phone and email as needed. 

The total cost of mediation is dependent on the number of parties, the number and complexity of topics and the duration of the meetings, and whether the parties require a memorandum to be drafted at the conclusion of the 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, sometimes parties pay for their own individual time and share fees for family meetings, and sometimes parties agree on other ways to share fees.

Why choose Elder Decisions® and Agreement Resources, LLC?

The mediators at Elder Decisions® and 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 typically provide a team of two mediators to work with families, as our clients find the presence of a two mediators 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 – occasionally some of our mediators may offer the option 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.

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