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.

Conflict Resolution Services Offers Mediation Services to Local Individuals with Disputes with Community Mental Health

Michigan Behavioral Health Mediation Services logoConflict Resolution Services (CRS) now offers local mediation services to resolve disputes related to behavioral health services provided by Community Mental Health Services Programs (CMHSP) and their contract providers. CRS has been subcontracted for services by Oakland Mediation Center who is the fiduciary of the grant.

MDHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Administration and MDHHS Office of Recipient Rights have partnered with community and advocacy partners across the state of Michigan to ensure that all people receiving publicly funded behavioral health services in Michigan have access to an independent mediation process to resolve concerns about their services and treatment. CRS has been subcontracted for services by Oakland Mediation Center who is the fiduciary of the grant. CRS, based in Traverse City, will be providing services to Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Missaukee, and Wexford Counties.

“The use of mediation has a proven record of successful outcomes in resolving disputes and allows the patient to be an active participant,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “It is exciting that we are able to provide mediation services to resolve complex behavioral health treatment needs in a meaningful way by bringing all parties to the table.”

All CRS volunteer mediators have a minimum of 40 hours of state training on mediation. Volunteer mediators for this program have completed an additional 6 hours of training specifically focused on behavioral health mediation.

Currently, the CMHSP system serves more than 230,000 Michigan residents and the CMHSP Customer Services and Recipient Rights Departments receive a variety of inquiries and questions related to treatment planning and behavioral health services.

CRS is one of 17 Community Dispute Resolution Centers in Michigan. The organization was formed in 1990 to promote peace and civility in the local community. Today the organization provides low- and no-cost mediation services to hundreds of individuals each year through state-trained volunteer mediators .

Clients of Community Mental Health can request a mediation by calling 1-844-3-MEDIATE or emailing at behavioralhealth@mediation-omc.org.




Michigan Community Mediation Association Launches Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Community Mediation Association (MCMA) has been awarded the Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program (MAMP) by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This program offers free mediation services to Michigan farmers to resolve their disputes outside of court. Farmers’ disputes covered by this grant can range from contract issues, estate and probate complications, adverse determinations by the USDA, bankruptcy, and any other conflict they may face concerning their farm.

“Our association is honored to have been awarded this grant to provide a vital alternative to resolving disputes for our farmers,” said Gabriella Reihanian Havlicek, Executive Director of MCMA. “We will be working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, industry stakeholders, and local leaders to ensure every farmer knows this program is available to them for free to resolve their conflicts.”

MCMA is an advocacy, not-for-profit association for the 17 Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) mediation centers across the state of Michigan that are partially funded by the Michigan Supreme Court State Court Administrative Office (SCAO). MCMA’s mission is to help advocate for the 17 CDRP and educate Michigan residents on the importance of mediation and restorative practices.

“Michigan’s farmers work to feed our communities and families 24/7, 365 days a year and mediation provides an avenue for them to be an integral part of the conflict resolution process. MDARD is proud to support MCMA,” said Gary McDowell, MDARD Director. “I encourage farmers to look into mediation as a viable option for resolving conflict.”

Mediation is a confidential process where disputing parties will discuss their issues with a neutral third party, the mediator, who will help them come to a resolution.

“Farmers already have heavy issues to navigate on a daily basis,” said Kelly Turner, CEO of Potato Growers of Michigan. “Whether it’s a supply chain shortage, finding workers, or navigating continually changing weather conditions. What they don’t need is to have extra legal issues hanging over their head for years to come. Now they can contact MCMA and request a free mediation to resolve any dispute they may be facing.”

Buddy Sebastian, President of Michigan Ground Water Association, echoed these sentiments by sharing, “We at Michigan Ground Water Association are excited to be partnering with MCMA and the 17 Community Dispute Resolution Program mediation centers. The services they provide to our residents and now our farmers allow Michiganders the opportunity to resolve disputes in a free and faster way.”

The 17 CDRP mediation centers are local nonprofits that offer mediation and restorative practice services. Their volunteer mediators are trained in the use of the facilitative model. This will ensure that all participants’ voices are heard and that the disputing parties are the ones making the agreement. Not the mediators.

CDRP mediators are required to complete 40 hours of SCAO-approved General Civil training or 48 hours of SCAO-approved Domestic training, practical experience supervised by seasoned mediators, and continuing education. To mediate agricultural cases the mediators will also be required to participate in 20 additional hours of advanced training every two years.

“Our mediators are highly skilled and trained on how to best serve their community members facing conflict in a respectful, professional manner,” said Shannon Taylor, Executive Director of Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP) Conflict Resolution Program and MCMA’s Training Committee Chairwoman. “I am certain they will bring this same level of expertise to the Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program and to our farmers.”

Farmers that wish to request a mediation may contact MCMA at www.micommunitymediation.org, via email micommunitymediationassoc@gmail.com, or by calling 800-616-7863.