ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution): processes for settling a dispute without litigation; these alternative processes include arbitration and mediation.

Agreement to Mediate: an agreement in which the parties to a dispute agree to try to resolve their dispute using the mediation process.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): See “ADR” above.

Arbitration: a confidential process for resolving disputes where a neutral person(s) selected by the parties hears the parties’ case and decides the outcome of the dispute.

Arbitrator: person chosen by the parties in dispute to decide their case through arbitration.

Caucus: a method used by mediators to overcome impasse between parties in mediations; it involves having separate confidential meetings with each party during the mediation process.

Certified Mediator: a mediator who has received a certificate from the Supreme Court of Virginia after having met the Court’s certification training and experience requirements.

Child Support: payments to be made by one parent to another parent for the support of their child(ren).

Conciliation: like mediation, is a process in which a neutral person facilitates an agreement between the parties to a conflict by helping the parties clarify issues and serving as an intermediary for negotiations. However, conciliation is generally less formal and less structured than mediation. Conciliation also differs from mediation in that in conciliation, the parties often are in need of restoring or repairing a relationship, either personal or business.

Conflict: a state of ongoing disharmony between/among individuals or organizations.

Custody: responsibility for the care, and authority to make decisions concerning, the child. A child lives with the person(s) who has or shares Physical custody of the child. Decisions about the child’s medical care, schooling etc are made by the person(s) who has, or shares, LEGALcustody.

Mediation Services

Dispute: what emerges from a conflict that is not well managed; disputes are tangible and concrete, with issues. Parties to the dispute have differing positions on these issues.

Elder Mediation: mediation in which at least one party is a senior citizen or the family, beneficiaries or heirs of a senior citizen. Matters suitable for elder mediation include: family conflict over disposition of inheritances; caregivers who are family members; establishing safeguards for the senior’s physical and financial well-being; determining if and when or whether the senior will “down-size”; establishing what help the senior needs and from whom; estate planning; distribution of unneeded possessions; sale of the family home

Equitable Distribution: fair division of marital assets between the parties.

Facilitation: is a process similar to mediation in which a neutral third party (the “facilitator”) assists the parties explore their differences and have constructive dialogue. The facilitator will help the parties set an agenda and manage discussion between them. Facilitators help the parties understand how their own styles of interacting may interfere in communicating and problem solving. The facilitator promotes understanding between the parties and may propose a series of process steps to keep the parties on track. Unlike the mediator, a facilitator may openly help the parties develop solutions.

Family Mediation: a mediation in which parties believe that they are now, or that they were, members of a family such as: domestic partners, married or formerly married couples, and parents and adult children. Matters suitable for family mediation include: expectations arising from co-habitation and prenuptial agreements, agreement to end a relationship and the legal issues of separation and divorce (such as equitable distribution, custody, visitation, child support and spousal support), as well as family businesses or real estate and contested wills.

Litigation: the processes involved in a lawsuit generally with the involvement of attorneys, judges and courts.

Mediated Agreement: a written, legally binding agreement reached by the parties in mediation to resolve their dispute.

Mediation: a confidential process for resolving disputes where trained neutral third parties assist people who are in conflict. In this process parties explain their stories, listen carefully to the other party, identify the issues in the disputes and find mutually acceptable solutions.

Mediation Services

Mediation Orientation: an explanation of the mediation process made by the mediator to all parties prior to their mediation session.

Mediator: an impartial person having no interest in the outcome of a conflict who is trained to help parties in conflict resolve their issues; a mediator is responsible for providing a fair process, creating a respectful and safe place to talk and facilitating communication between the parties.

Separation Agreement: a written document memorializing the agreements reached by couples about distribution of marital assets, spousal support and, if there are children, visitation rights, legal and physical custody and child support.

Meditation: sounds similar to, and is often confused with, “mediation”.
Meditation and mediation are not the same.

Spousal Support: payments made by one spouse to the other spouse upon their separation or divorce.

Visitation: the right of a parent without physical custody of his/her child(ren) to visit with the child(ren) at times and places agreed upon with the person(s) who has physical custody.