SCAO seeks help resolving disputes outside of court

The State Court Administrative Office is encouraging interested individuals to apply to become volunteer mediators through one of its 17 Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) centers across the state.

There’s a growing need for dispute resolution services across the state, according to the SCAO.

Volunteers are asked to apply by Sept. 30.

Each year, nearly 30,000 Michigan citizens who might otherwise have court hearings or trials resolve their disputes through mediation services provided by these local centers, court officials say, and people typically reach agreements about 80 percent of the time.

Cases frequently brought to the centers involve landlord-tenant disputes, contract disputes, 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 are interested in conflict resolution. They do not take sides, to not tell people how strong or weak their case is and 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 wither a 40-hour General Civil Mediation (Michigan Court Rule 2.411) or 48-hour Domestic Relations Mediation (Michigan Court Rule 3.216) training, 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.

For Macomb County, interested persons should contact Craig Pappas at The Resolution Center (

Mediation can be conducted in person or virtually through synchronous sessions using videoconferencing or teleconferencing, and the MI-Resolve platform that allows parties to negotiate resolutions using smartphones, tablets or personal computers.