What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process through which the people involved in a conflict can sit down with a trained, certified neutral third party to resolve the conflict. The mediators listen to both parties in an effort to learn how they would like to resolve the dispute. The parties and mediators create an agenda of topics to be negotiated. Then the parties negotiate on those topics to work out a solution that brings resolution to the conflict and that is workable for all the parties. A more detailed description of the mediation process is available HERE.
Which approach to mediation does the DRC use?
The DRC practices a facilitative approach to mediation through which the parties are guided through the mediation process to settlement and improved communication. The mediators do not provide an evaluation of each parties’ strengths and weaknesses as might happen in a mediation under an evaluative style of mediation.
When you choose mediation as your resolution approach, you retain control over the decision on how to resolve things. Mediation can take place within just a few weeks of your requesting it. Mediation is cost effective in terms of time and money. Mediation is confidential. Information about your situation won’t be accessible to people outside the dispute.
Who are the mediators?
The DRC’s mediators are members of our local communities who have taken specialized training to become certified as mediators. They represent the diversity of our communities, in age, gender, language abilities and ethnic communities.
What are the Mediators’ qualifications?
Volunteers must be certified as mediators and endorsed in the specific area of mediation associated with the case. They must also adhere to the Standards of Practice of the Washington Mediation Association. (The Standards of Practice can be found HERE.) Certification requirements include a minimum of 36 hours of mediation training, a written exam, observation of mediation sessions, mediation practice sessions and 24 hours of mediation experience. Endorsement in specializations within the field of mediation require additional training and practice.
How can I get assistance?
People involved in conflicts can call the Dispute Resolution Center, send an e-mail message or stop by the office in Yakima to request assistance in contacting the other party(ies) to see if they are willing to mediate. Dial (509) 453-8949 from the Yakima area, (509) 925-5123 from the Ellensburg area or 1(800) 853-8949 from outside either of these local calling areas.
What does it cost?
There is an intake fee of $25 for each party before the Mediation Process can begin. Cost for family related cases such as parenting plan, relational improvement and marriage dissolution is $125 per party per mediation session. General Mediation cases cost $50 per session per party. Organizational Mediations generally cost $200 per hour. No one is turned away from services due to an inability to pay. If you need assistance meeting the costs of mediation please contact our office for a Hardship Application.
Is there financial assistance?
People may apply for a fee reduction by requesting the Hardship Declaration Form and Fee Reduction Application. The form and required documentation must be returned two weeks before your scheduled mediation.
How long do mediation sessions last?
Most mediation sessions run between 2 and 3 hours in length. If you are scheduled for a mediation session, please block out at least that amount of time to work towards your resolution.
What types of cases will the DRC mediate?
- Marriage Dissolution/Parenting Plans
- Family/Relational improvement
- Parent/Child disputes
- Mediation services for senior citizens
- Small claims court cases
- Neighborhood disagreements about noise, children, pets, etc.
- Landlord/Tenant disputes
- Foreclosure matters
- Consumer/Business disputes
- Civil complaints
- Government/Citizen disputes
- Non-violent Victim/Offender cases
- School mediation
- Organizational/Agency mediation
- Multi-party mediation
- Community meeting facilitation
If you don’t see your specific situation mentioned here, please call us at (509)453-8949 to see whether mediation might be appropriate for you.
Who makes referrals?
Anyone can refer parties to mediation. Some of our more common referral sources include: neighbors, friends and relatives, people who have used the mediation process before themselves, private agencies, attorneys, people experiencing conflict, businesses, courts & prosecuting attorneys, sheriff or police, city and county agencies, state agencies, e.g. Division of Child Support.
How can I train to be a Mediator?
The Dispute Resolution Center offers mediation training once per year. Call or e-mail us to receive information about the training as it becomes available. (Training generally happens on 2 weekends.) Other DRCs in the state offer mediation training more frequently.
Advanced mediation training is offered at various points during the year.
Does the DRC use volunteers?
Yes! The DRC utilizes volunteers to assist in the office, to help plan and put on events, as part of its speakers’ bureau. Volunteers also serve as the DRC’s dedicated, highly skilled mediators. Call or e-mail the DRC office to talk about your interest in volunteering.
Does the DRC accept donations?
Absolutely! The Dispute Resolution Center is a private, not-for-profit organization recognized under section 501 (c) 3 of the US Internal Revenue Service code. Generally, donations are tax deductible. Contributions can be sent to the DRC office or you can make an online contribution via PayPal by clicking on the Support the DRC link. Your contribution will be acknowledged with a thank you letter.