How It Works: Mediation with State and Main
For many people the idea of being a party to a mediation brings up questions and concerns. When one seeks out professional support in a negotiation, it often means the stakes are high, the issues are complex, and relationships may be under strain. However, this is a process in which you can rest assured that your voice, needs and goals will be respected and supported.
The following Frequently Asked Questions may provide a sense of what to expect:
What should I expect when I call State and Main Mediation?
Neal will often begin by asking questions. In part he’ll want to assess if mediation is the appropriate process for your situation. If it is, he'll explore how he can best help you in any negotiation with the other party (or parties) involved.
Our goal is to afford everyone involved in the mediation process with the best possible outcome to their negotiation. To do this, Neal may want your permission to ask some questions that might seem personal. For example, he may ask you talk about past challenges, personal goals, or what ways you find it easiest to communicate.
Neal will also want to know what questions you might have. The more comfortable you feel asking questions and expressing concerns throughout the mediation, the better the process will work for you. Neal is available to answer questions and discuss concerns throughout the process: before you begin mediation, between sessions, and after the mediation process is complete.
What does a mediation session look like?
When you arrive Neal will ask all the parties to sign a form called an Agreement to Mediate. Among the most important aspects of this form is the agreement that for the mediator mediation is a confidential process. The Vermont legislature has passed a law called the Uniform Mediation Act that protects the confidentiality of this process.
Neal will advise you before your meeting as to what forms may have helpful information for you or may need to be completed for your meeting. Use the arrows below to download our forms as PDFs.
Pre-Marital Services brochure
Sample Agreement to Mediate
Divorce Agreemenet checklist
When the mediation session begins parties can often start out together. Neal will usually ask parties to talk about what brought them there and what they would like to leave with. At times during the mediation session Neal may meet separately with parties, either at the parties request or when Neal sees that it might be helpful to the negotiation.
What is Neal’s role as a mediator?
Neal thinks of his job as a negotiation coach. This includes ensuring a comfortable space for parties to talk, ask questions and, where appropriate, to document agreements. While it is his role to run the meeting and facilitate the negotiation it is the parties who make decisions about what they want to receive and offer in the final agreement.
A great deal of what Neal will be doing is asking questions that will help parties identify what is most important to them, what they want out of the negotiation, and how they might achieve these goals. At times Neal may also ask to bring ideas to the table. These ideas are aimed at exploring creative ways to meet the stated needs of the parties and are not intended as suggestions for how parties should resolve their negotiation. He is always working to ensure that the mediation process is offering people the best opportunity possible for their situation to be resolved in a way that works for everyone.
Where will the mediation take place?
Depending on the needs of the participants, meetings can take place in our offices or other appropriate locations. Most meetings are held at State and Main Mediation’s offices at "The corner of State and Main" - 94 Main Street on the 2nd floor, in Montpelier, Vermont. Neal Rodar also maintains access to different professional conference rooms located across Vermont and other New England locations, for times when it would work best for a mediation to be held in another area. The comfort of the participants and practical considerations such as access to records are primary considerations in choosing a meeting place.
What paperwork do I need?
Neal will provide guidance on what paperwork is needed. In some situations, he may suggest downloading a form (see our the list of forms on this website) in order to bring the completed form with you, to save time. A comprehensive listing of legal forms for the Vermont Judiciary’s All Family Division can also be found here: