Agreement to Participate in Mediation

AGREEMENT TO PARTICIPATE IN MEDIATION

We are requesting mediation services from Ben Stich of Mediation and Family Services, and understand and agree to the following terms:

  1. We are the decision makers in this process and the mediator cannot impose any decisions regarding the disputed issues.
  2. Mediator services shall not be construed as legal advice, financial advice, therapy or any professional service other than mediation. Either of us may seek expert advice at any time during the mediation. The mediator has advised each of us to have separate, independent counsel review any agreement before we sign it.
  3. Mediation is a voluntary process. The mediator or we may choose to end the process at any time.
  4. If we discuss finances, we will disclose all of our financial worth, assets and liabilities during the mediation process. We each accept full responsibility for the reasonable accuracy of the figures disclosed and understand that agreements reached will be based in part on these figures.
  5. We understand that mediation is a confidential process under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 233, Section 23C and that Mediation and Family Services will keep the details of our case and all related documents confidential.The mediator reserves the right to disclose suspected abuse and plan to commit a crime to the proper authorities. We agree that neither of us will seek to obtain the testimony of the mediator or the disclosure of the mediator’s file in conjunction with any court proceeding, and we further agree that if one of us seeks such testimony or disclosure in contravention of this provision, that person will indemnify the mediator as to all costs in connection therewith, including attorney’s fees, preparation, and travel time, and will compensate the mediator for time spent such compensation to be at the mediator’s then current hourly rate.
  6. We understand that Ben Stich is a licensed social worker which means under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 119, Section 51A, he is a mandated reporter and must report to the Department of Children and Families when he has reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of eighteen years is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse or neglect.
  7. The mediator’s notes are his private memory aids that will not be shared. The mediator can set forth any agreement reached in mediation in a Memorandum of Understanding, or other written document upon our request.

 


ONLINE MEDIATION PROTOCOL

Technology: If online sessions occur we will use Zoom. Before your first scheduled session, you agree to download and install the software and/or apps from Zoom necessary for your participation at: https://zoom.us/download. To familiarize yourself with how to operate Zoom tutorials are available at https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-aMeeting. I recommend using a computer if you have one available to you. You will need a secure WiFi or Ethernet connection for your computer. Despite best efforts there are times technology may fail to operate properly. If that happens, please take the following steps:

  1. Log out of Zoom and log back in
  2. Call Ben at 617-872-7721 for troubleshooting help

Privacy: Only the people engaged in the mediation process may join an online session. You agree to disclose immediately when someone else is in the room off-camera and take measures to ensure no one else can overhear the session. You will not allow your children to hear any portion of the session. If a child walks in the room you will immediately inform the group and turn your volume off until the child is out of earshot.

Prohibition on Recording: You, or anyone on your behalf, may not audio or video record any mediation session or portion thereof. In the event that you learn of an audio or video recording of any session, you will take immediate action to destroy the recording and inform all parties to the mediation. You will not disseminate the recording to third parties. You further agree that you will not transmit a live or deferred video or audio relay of the online mediation sessions to third parties.

Respectful Online Communication: Due to the nature of the online forum, it is especially important to allow each participant to finish their comments or statements before responding. The audio portion of the technology will only allow one person to talk at a time. In addition, the online format can amplify and exaggerate sound so maintaining a regular speaking voice is important. If I request use of the “mute” feature while someone else is speaking you agree to do so.

You agree to present yourself in the same business-like manner you would if you were in an office conference room. To that end, you will not participate in a session while driving, under the influence of alcohol or other substances, and ensure your background is neutral (ex. free from things that could upset the other party, such as a photo of a significant other).

Agreement to Participate in Mediation

I read, I understand, and I agree to the terms of Mediation and Family Service's Agreement to Participate in Mediation and Online Protocol for mediation services.