Mediation Policies

Mediation is a process that provides a non-threatening, informal procedure as an initial step in resolving conflicts. Each year, over 10,000 Michigan citizens who might otherwise bring a dispute before a judge or magistrate will resolve their disputes through mediation services supported by the Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP). If a situation is resolved through mediation, it does not need to go any further.

At NCM our mediators are trained in accordance with Michigan Supreme Court (SCAO) guidelines and volunteer their time to serve their community. Many of our mediators have advanced training in special areas of conflict, which helps continue to enhance the Center’s work towards its goal of improving human relations within our community. Mediators are neutral facilitators who help parties reach a mutual binding agreement and an agreement that each party can “live up to.”

At Northern Community Mediation, you can be assured of that

Mediation is Confidential
The parties can speak candidly and directly to each other about the issues that concern them without the proceedings being a matter of public record.

Mediation is Flexible
Mediation can be used to discuss creative and individualized solutions. In a mediation session, any issues the parties bring to the table (i.e., individual needs, interpersonal issues) can be discussed. The source of conflict can be identified and resolved, especially in cases of inaccurate or incomplete information, inappropriate or incompatible goals, ineffective or unacceptable methods for resolving disagreement, and/or antagonistic or other negative feelings. In court, only issues pertaining to legal matters are part of the discussion.

Mediation Can Preserve Relationships
When disputants will be interacting with one another in the future, mediation can help to build a framework for future interaction based upon mutual interests and needs rather than adversarial positions. Mediation is a “win/win” rather than a “win/lose” solution. In court, someone wins and someone loses.

Participants Control the Outcome
In the mediation process, the people involved in the situation are the ones who create an agreement that works for them. In arbitration or in court, an agreement is imposed by an arbitrator or judge.

Mediation is Creative
The final agreement can be virtually anything the parties involved agree to as long as it is not at odds with the law.

Mediation is Forward-Looking
Mediation focuses on what the issues are now, how they can be resolved, and what can be done to avoid similar problems in the future. In court or in arbitration, the focus is on the past-who is at fault for the current situation.

Legal Action Is Still an Option
If mediation does not resolve the issue, or if the issue is not appropriate for mediation, the parties are free to pursue all other legal remedies, such as suing in court. In the vast majority of disputes taken to mediation (85%) , however, parties reach an agreement, which makes legal action unnecessary.