ADR Service - Mediation
* If you have been referred to a Dispute Resolution Orientation Session or Mediation by a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge your case will be assigned to available Court Certified Mediators based on when it is received. Upon receiving paper work form court a letter is mailed to your address listed on the court paperwork informing you of your mediator's contact information. For District Court Cases referred on a DC-604 Order of Referral to Mediation Form there is service no cost. Cases referred on a DC-400 Referral to Mediation Form the parties are responsible for the cost. When referrals are made from Pre-Trial Conference it can take 1-5 business days for us to receive paper work from the court. We can provide general information immediately, but can't assign a mediator or assess your case until the paper work is received so that the mediator has accurate information. Once we assign your mediator it can take 1-4 business days to get the paper work to your mediator depending on logistics.
* If you are interested in services and have not been referred by a Judge or have questions please call our office 540-552-1200 to speak with our Mediation Program Assistant, Ms. Hannah Martin, or Mediation Coordinator and ADR Associate, Ms. T'aiya Shiner.
If you get voice mail please leave a confidential message regarding your name, telephone number, the reason for your call and best time to reach you so that we can respond as quickly as possible.
We will gladly talk with you at no cost and provide general information.
If you are interested in proceeding and requesting service there is a $50.00 non-refundable case opening fee paid by the initiating party.
The ADR Associate will contact and speak privately and confidentially over the phone with you and then the other party (or parties) to further assess the appropriateness of the case. Appointments are scheduled once all parties have been spoken with and the ADR Associate offers service. Appointments are set for two to three hours in length and can often be scheduled in a matter of one to two weeks.
You and the other party (or parties) have the right and are encouraged to consult with independent legal counsel at any time. Each party should have any drafted Memorandum of Agreement reviewed by an attorney before signing or waive their right to do so. A signed agreement can affect legal rights.
The role of the ADR Associate as a mediation process facilitator (mediator) is to assist parties in identifying issues, reducing obstacles to communication, helping you and the other party clarify information, understand each other, and if desired, scribe your Memorandum of Agreement. The facilitative approach used by Better Agreements' ADR Associates helps parties stay at the table, talk through what matters, and make decisions for themselves.
Mediation sessions typically occur with the mediator and all parties in the same room, separate rooms or telephone sessions may be used as needed. The number of sessions needed varies depending on the interests of the parties, subject matter to be addressed and the complexity of the issues.
Memorandums of Agreement are to be entered into voluntarily, be fair to all concerned, build goodwill and better working relationships, and be beneficial to all concerned. Because the mediation process focuses on the future you work on figuring out what will work to maximize, health, wealth and happiness rather then fighting.
Cost $75-200 per hour.
If cost is an obstacle please send an email to to offer barter of goods/services, inquire regarding scholarships, or request consideration.
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Better Agreements is pleased to offer communication, conflict resolution, and personal skills trainings and workshops throughout the year by request for groups and businesses.
The giraffe is used here as a mascot for heart connected communication having the largest heart of any land mammal. Excellence in communication requires development of emotional intelligence and cognitive skills.
To request training consultation please send an email to Training(at)BetterAgreements.org.
For Mediator Mentorship please send an email Shiner(at)BetterAgreements.org.
Conflict Resolution and Virginia Court Mediator Certification Trainings offered across through program members of the Virginia Association for Community Conflict Resolution.
For Virginia Court Certified Mediation including minimum training requirements and ethical standards please visit Supreme Court Office of Dispute Resolution Services (DRS).
Observer Experience COPE
Better Agreements is pleased to offer approved individuals the opportunity to observe an actual mediation process. The program known as COPE (Citizen Observer Program Experience) provides firsthand experience of the power of the mediation process to bring people together.
Time to speak with the mediator prior to mediation.
Observe mediation session scheduled for approximately 2-3 hours.
Debrief the mediation experience with the mediator.
Observations are scheduled based on approved applications and available sessions.
Volunteer and Learning Internships
Volunteers are important and valuable!
Better Agreements offers opportunities through the following sites
Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Montgomery County: RSVP
United Way of Montgomery Radford & Floyd: Volunteer NRV Portal
Students have successfully completed internships for academic credit from the following programs:
Radford University - Communications Department, Betty Kennan
Virginia Tech - Sociology Department, Donna Sedgwick, Internship Coordinator
Virginia Tech - Pamplin College of Business
Your academic program does not have to be listed or worked with us before. Just contact us about your interest and get in touch with the designated internship/field study coordinator to determine requirements and secure necessary forms.
To learn more about current needs and openings on committees, teams, or special projects please contact Shiner(at)BetterAgreements.org.