You Want Me to Pay for Mediation?

by Bryana Nelson

How can I pay for mediation now?  I can barely afford groceries!    Because mediation benefits are not always tangible, you may not be as willing to spend money for the service as you would for something tangible, like groceries.  Moreover, although paying to resolve a conflict may not be a priority now, when you are able to deal with it, the situation may have changed.  In fact, it may actually  have gotten worse. For example, if you neglect to pay a parking ticket, ultimately you would find that you have a bench warrant for your arrest. But, before that happens, a parking ticket that starts out at $10 turns into a fine of over $60. What if you want to dispute the ticket? You would have to take time off work, go to court, and likely pay both ticket and court costs if you don’t win.

The same applies when facing conflict with a neighbor or workplace colleague. A situation that looks like it can wait may actually get worse as time goes by. Sides begin to form, positions and beliefs become more rigid, and the quality of interaction diminishes.  When this happens, it becomes difficult to communicate interests and issues because anger and thoughts of  “winning” may take over. What about ignoring the neighbor who mows his lawn at a disturbing time early in the morning? Or what about the co-worker who insists on humming to every song on the office radio? Will you find yourself eventually sabotaging the lawn mower or smashing the radio?

Think about a situation you have with someone that has friction of some sort. You may or may not know what caused it. Maybe you don’t want to make a big issue out of it or you just don’t know how to approach that person. What you do know is that you wish the situation was different. This is where a trained mediator would be able to assist in helping the parties communicate and find a mutual solution. Alright, but what if the problem is that this person just won’t talk to you or there is no way he/she will participate in mediation? Well, one of the most important parts of our Intake Coordinator’s job is to help the other party to realize the importance of resolving the situation. Volunteer mediators assigned to the case also help to evaluate what the situation would look like if unresolved.

But what about the cost of mediation? MSAC offers mediation on a sliding scale based on income (ranging from $5 per party per session to $25). Compared to court costs, mediation is inexpensive. Also, parties wanting mediation can schedule a meeting within several weeks of contacting the Intake Coordinator, sometimes sooner, depending upon the parties’ schedules. One additional thing to keep in mind is that we have flexible scheduling, so mediations can be scheduled during the evening or weekend.

For more information regarding mediation, please call Mediation Services of Adams County at 717-334-7312 or visit our website at www.mediateadams.org. MSAC is available to speak to you and/or your group regarding the benefits of mediation and conflict resolution training. Se habla Espanol. Bryana Nelson is a Board Member and Mediator with Mediation Services of Adams County.