Difference between Axiom Mediation and mediators certified in Virginia by the Judicial Council

Axiom Mediators are more experienced and charge more

Axiom Mediators have not sought to be certified pursuant to the guidelines promulgated by the Judicial Council in Virginia, which requires a mere minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree to qualify as a court-referred mediator in Virginia, together with less than 1 week of basic mediation training and a 4 hour course, 2 general mediation observations and three general co-mediations.  Virginia referred mediators receive a flat fee of $100 for the mediation, paid for by the state.  See Virginia’s Program.

Axiom Mediators charge more than a flat fee of $100 which is paid by the state to court-referred mediators in Virginia

Most often, you get what you pay for!  At Axiom Mediation, we are unable to provide mediation services for a flat fee of $100.  Our fees are commensurate with our experience, skill and knowledge.

If a clerk in any Virginia court informs you that Axiom Mediation cannot mediate a matter - that would be flat out wrong.

While a court may be limited in its ability to direct parties to mediation that will be paid a flat $100 fee by the state, nothing precludes the parties from seeking a competent, skilled and experienced mediator, to reach a private and binding resolution of a dispute.

For example, in matters of custody, visitation or support, the relevant statutes addressing court-referred mediation as follows:

In pertinent part,§ 20-124.2 states, as follows, with emphasis added:

§ 20-124.2. Court-ordered custody and visitation arrangements.
A. In any case in which custody or visitation of minor children is at issue, whether in a circuit or district court, the court shall provide prompt adjudication, upon due consideration of all the facts, of custody and visitation arrangements, including support and maintenance for the children, prior to other considerations arising in the matter. The court may enter an order pending the suit as provided in § 20-103. The procedures for determining custody and visitation arrangements shall insofar as practical, and consistent with the ends of justice, preserve the dignity and resources of family members. Mediation shall be used as an alternative to litigation where appropriate. When mediation is used in custody and visitation matters, the goals may include development of a proposal addressing the child’s residential schedule and care arrangements, and how disputes between the parents will be handled in the future.

Similarly, § 20-124.4 states as follows with emphasis added:

§ 20-124.4. Mediation.
A. In any appropriate case the court shall refer the parents or persons with a legitimate interest to a dispute resolution orientation session to be conducted by a mediator certified pursuant to guidelines promulgated by the Judicial Council at no cost and in accordance with the procedures set out in Chapter 20.2 (§ 8.01-576.4 et seq.) of Title 8.01. In assessing the appropriateness of a referral, the court shall ascertain upon motion of a party whether there is a history of family abuse. If an agreement is not reached on any issue through further mediation as agreed to by the parties, prior to the return date set by the court pursuant to § 8.01-576.5, the court shall proceed with a hearing on any unresolved issue, unless a continuance has been granted by the court.
B. The fee of the mediator shall be $100 per appointment mediated and shall be paid by the Commonwealth from the funds appropriated for payment of appointments made pursuant to subsection B of § 16.1-267. Any referral that includes both (i) custody or visitation and (ii) child or spousal support shall be considered two separate appointments.

Nothing in either statute prevents or bars parties from seeking competent mediation services outside of the $100 per appointment for mediators certified pursuant to guidelines promulgated by the Judicial Counsel and provided at no cost to parties before the court.

Do you want to have your important dispute mediated by a flat $100 fee mediator certified by the state or by a skilled, experienced and committed mediator?