Want to Make a Difference in Your Community? Become a Volunteer Mediator

LANSING, MI, August 17, 2022 – Based on the growing need for—and success of—dispute resolution services across the state, the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) encourages interested individuals to apply by September 30 to become volunteer mediators through one of its 17 Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) centers around Michigan, where they can help people (online and in person) navigate  a variety of disputes. Each year, nearly 30,000 Michigan citizens who might otherwise have court hearing or trial resolve their disputes through mediation services provided by these local centers, and people typically reach agreements about 80 percent of the time. Cases frequently brought to the centers involve landlord-tenant disputes, contract disputes, family and domestic relations cases, money owed, divorce, and child custody.

Volunteer community mediators are typically individuals who wish to make a difference in their community, have the time to commit to give back, and an interest in conflict resolution. They do not take sides, they do not tell people how strong or weak their case is, and they do not provide legal advice. Mediators are trained to help the parties themselves come up with a solution they can live with.

To provide services as a volunteer mediator, individuals must complete either a 40-hour General Civil Mediation (Michigan Court Rule 2.411) or 48-hour Domestic Relations Mediation (Michigan Court Rule 3.216) training approved by the State Court Administrator, observe at least two mediations conducted by an approved mediator, and conduct at least one mediation to conclusion under the supervision of an approved mediator. Each CDRP center determines its own training and volunteer needs for its service area, so anyone interested in applying should reach out to their local CDRP center for more information about their application process, training opportunities, and possible fees.

More about mediation

Mediation can be conducted in person or virtually through synchronous sessions using videoconferencing or teleconferencing, and the MI-Resolve platform which allows parties to asynchronously, 24/7, negotiate resolutions using smartphones, tablets or personal computers.  MI-Resolve is the nation’s first statewide online dispute resolution platform. A recent independent evaluation shows the effectiveness of virtual dispute resolution using Zoom and SCAO’s MI-Resolve, showing that both were effective and rated highly by users.

General benefits of mediation:

  • Mediation is flexible
  • Participants can control the outcome
  • Mediation is forward-looking
  • Mediation can preserve relationships
  • Mediation is creative
  • Mediation is confidential
  • Mediation is effective

Contact Conflict Resolution Services at 231-941-5835 or execdir@crsmediationtc.org.