Citizens Mediation Service
(CMS) was founded in 1992 with the goal of offering low-cost or no-cost mediation services to local parties. Today, CMS serves Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, Branch, and St. Joseph County residents. Mediations are conducted by highly-skilled volunteers who have received at least 40 hours of mediation training and completed an internship under expert supervision. Every year, CMS conducts hundreds of mediations, saving significant time and money for our residents and local court systems.
What is mediation and how does it work?
Mediation is a process in which two or more people involved in a dispute meet in a private and confidential setting and work out a solution to their problems with the help of a neutral mediator. A mediator is not a judge. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong. A mediator uses proven conflict resolution techniques to help both parties develop an agreement that will work for them. Neither party has to agree to any condition or set of terms they are not comfortable with. However, the final agreement is signed by both parties and is enforceable as described in that document.
Why should I use mediation?
- The decision-making power belongs to you! You decide what the best solution to the problem is, not someone else. You are in control and can participate in reaching an agreement you can live with.
- It works! Thousands of cases have been successfully mediated in Michigan. Mediation produces a “win/win” scenario rather than the “win/lose” scenario a court may provide. The goal of mediation is to have all parties arrive at a mutually agreeable solution to the problem.
- It’s affordable! Citizens Mediation Service uses a set fee schedule for both parties. If you are on public assistance of any kind, mediation fees are waived. CMS is part of a statewide network of non-profit organizations providing free or low-cost mediation and dispute resolution services on a wide variety of dispute types.
- It’s quick! Most mediation sessions are scheduled within seven (7) days and usually last no longer than two hours.
- It’s effective! Over half of all meditations end in an agreement. In fact, the chance of settling a dispute to both parties’ satisfaction is much higher in mediation than in court.
- It’s private! All information shared in mediation is confidential and treated with the utmost respect, no matter the situation.
Services and types of Mediation Available
Citizens Mediation Service also provides many other services to the community, including:
- Conflict resolution workshops for businesses, clubs, associations, and other organizations.
- Mediator training provided by state-approved trainers/mediators.
- Special Education Mediation
- Divorce and Domestic Disputes
- Access and Visitation for Parents
- ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Mediation
- Civil Rights Mediation
- Restorative Justice programs
- Landlord/Tenant disputes
- Property disputes
There are numerous other types of mediation services provided by CMS. For more information, call CMS at (269)982-7898 or complete the information request below.