Virginia's Judicial System

Mediation: Resolving Disputes in a Different Way

Why Should I Try Mediation?

Sometimes people aren't even fighting over the same things; if you identify what the real conflict is, it's a lot easier to resolve it.

Whether you end up with an agreement or not, talking things over with an impartial party present can be very helpful.

How Can I Pursue Mediation?

You can talk over your interest in mediation with your lawyer.

You can go to your court clerk's office; they often have information about programs in your community.

You can contact the:
Department of Dispute Resolution Services
Office of the Executive Secretary
100 N. Ninth Street, Third Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 786-6455

Mediation can be used most effectively when the parties have had a relationship of some type like:

  • Landlord - Tenant
  • Employee - Employer
  • Neighbors 
  • Spouses
  • Siblings
  • Contractor - Subcontractor
  • Builder - Architect
  • Consumer - Business

What Is Mediation?

Mediation lets you take control of your own dispute and it lets you and the other person decide what seems the best result for both of you.

Mediation gives you a chance to talk about what is really important to you, and a chance to listen to what is really important to the other person.

Mediation brings an impartial third person in to direct your attention back to solving the problem.

How Does Mediation Work?

First, the mediator will set a few simple rules:

  • People talk only to the mediator
  • People talk one at a time
  • People treat the process and each other respectfully

Next, each party will be given an opportunity to speak uninterrupted, about what the conflict means to him.

Then, the mediator will help all of the participants look at what is really important about the conflict and what some creative ways of resolving it might be.

Finally, if the participants decide that they can settle the dispute, the mediator helps them write down what they have agreed to.

Can I Go Back To Court?

Returning to court is always an option for you, whether you choose to mediate or not.

If you don't resolve all of the issues of your dispute, you can go to court on your trial date and ask that the unresolved issues be heard.

If you do reach a mediated agreement, you can ask that the judge enter the agreement as an order and dismiss your case.