Mediation is:

Mediation is a process that enables people to resolve disputes or conflict by talking with one another in an informational, safe and confidential setting. The mediators who assist you through the process are neutral and will not favor one side or the other.

The mediator, a neutral third party, helps parties work together to resolve conflict. The mediator does not solve problems, but helps parties work together toward a mutually beneficial resolution.

The mediator controls the process; the parties control all the decision-making and thus, the solution is mutually-decided. Relationships can be preserved, as mediation is not a scrappy process. Parties take responsibility for their own solutions, so they are more likely to keep their agreements.

Some ways that the mediator controls the process is by making sure that all parties have a chance to speak and to be heard, and by making sure that the power of the party's is balanced – that one party does not “take over” the mediation. The mediator helps the parties communicate, clarify issues and brainstorm and/or negotiate solutions. Even when agreement on a solution is not reached, parties often walk away from the mediation with a better understanding of the other party’s position and improved communication between the parties results.

Most disputes can be mediated in one session of two hours or less. Complex issues do arise, especially in domestic relationships or Special Education mediation. In those instances, sessions may run longer or a subsequent session may be scheduled.

What to expect at the Mediation Session:

  • The mediators introduce themselves, explain their role and introductions are made between the parties.

  • The mediators explain the mediation process, the ground rules, and the Consent to Mediate document.

  • Each party has the opportunity to share their concerns from their point of view, without interruption.

  • The mediators identify and clarify the issues they hear from the parties. They encourage the parties to communicate directly with one another and will point out any common interests they hear. During this part of the process, the parties work together to resolve the dispute, which is also known as a caucus. There may be times during this process that the mediators meet with each party separately.

  • Any terms of an agreement reached in mediation is put into writing and signed by all parties to the dispute. The signed agreement can be enforceable by the court, as is any other contact. Unlike litigation or arbitration where someone else is in control and makes the decision for the parties, in mediation the parties are in control and create their own resolution. This type of environment is meant to be productive and beneficial for all parties involved.

Why should you chose Mediation?

It works!

Mediation is a “win-win” rather than a “win-lose” solution. Over 80% of mediations end in agreement, even when other attempts to settle have failed.

It’s convenient!

Most mediations are scheduled within two weeks, and most disputes are resolved in one meeting. Sessions can be scheduled weekdays, Saturdays and evenings.

It’s confidential!

Almost everything disclosed during mediation is confidential and cannot be used in a lawsuit. The matter does not become part of the public record.

It’s affordable!

Court costs and attorney fees can be avoided or reduced.  Cost of mediation is based on ability to pay. Click here to see fee schedule.

It’s cooperative, not adversarial!

Mediation provides a comfortable, safe and respectful setting for discussion.

What is Facilitation?

The E.U.P. Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC) provides trained facilitators for meetings upon request. Like mediators, facilitators are neutral — they do not make decisions for the group or for the meeting participants. They guide the process by supporting all participants to do their best thinking, by keeping the group focused and by helping all to move toward the group’s goal(s).





Special Education:

The E.U.P. Community Dispute Resolution Center provides Special Education mediation, facilitations and training at no cost for Chippewa, Mackinac, and Luce counties' schools and residents through the Special Education Mediation Program (SEMS). These services are federally funded through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and paid for by a grant from the Michigan Office of Special Education.

SEMS provides services in the earliest stages of intervention and educational planning and beyond: 


Meeting Facilitation. Facilitation can help the parties develop the best intervention plan or educational program for the circumstances. A neutral facilitator helps the participants work through communication issues so the participants can focus on and resolve the issues.

Mediation. Mediation aids the parties in resolving disputes that may arise between families of students with disabilities and schools. Mediation is voluntary and confidential. The neutral mediator fosters a cooperative discussion. The parties alone make the final decisions. A successful mediation can result in a written, signed agreement that can be incorporated into an IFSP or IEP. 

Training. Learning collaborative communication and dispute resolution techniques can make parents, educators, and service providers more effective in planning and decision making. Workshops can be adapted to the needs of organizations, staff, or parent groups. 

Outreach. The more people know about facilitation and mediation services, the more they can benefit from them. Presentations can be made around the state, supported by materials that explain the benefits of collaborative methods.


For more information please call 833-KIDS1ST or 833-543-7178 or visit: Requests for services are processed through the SEMS central office with local service delivery coordinated with the E.U.P. Community Dispute Resolution Center.

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Dispute Types