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.
Before the first session, Neal will ask all parties to sign and return an Agreement to Mediate form.
Mediation is a confidential process. Vermont's Uniform Mediation Act law protects the confidentiality of all aspects of a mediation.
How does a mediation session take place?
A typical session will happen using the Zoom online meeting app. You'll receive a Zoom invitation by email at least one hour prior to the start of the meeting.
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.
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: