FAQ

Where are you located?
Please view our contact page.

What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process in which two or more parties involved in a dispute work with an impartial person or persons, the mediator or two co-mediators, to generate their own solutions in settling their conflict.
Unlike proceedings before a judge or an arbitrator whose decisions subject one party to win and the other party to lose, mediation is about finding a solution that works for both disputing parties–a win-win outcome.  Disputants have the opportunity to write the judge’s order!

When should I consider Mediation?
Mediation is always an option whether you are thinking about taking your dispute to court or you are already in court.  The very best time to mediate a dispute is well before court!

Look to mediation:
If the dispute has been ongoing;
If you want to preserve a relationship being affected by the conflict;
If you are concerned about the conflict’s effect on your children and would like to model appropriate behavior for your children;
If you would like to speak to the other party so they may hear your concerns, and if you would like to be heard in turn;
If the dispute is upsetting and affecting your daily life, if you cannot afford the time and cost involved with litigation; and
If you would like to resolve the dispute yourself–
informally, privately, speedily and without an unnecessary legal judgment.

What types of disputes are suitable for mediation?
Almost all types! The cases mediated by CMC volunteers are primarily civil cases involving:
parents, children, neighbors, juvenile offenders, tenants and landlords, the workplace environment & employment, small business deals, corporate deals, construction, real estate, health care, church, nonprofit organizations, and community-based disputes about recognition, funding, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.

CMC also mediates criminal misdemeanor cases referred by the District Attorney’s Office involving domestic or neighborhood violence.  CMC never mediates the violence, but rather mediates conditions of disposition, such as supervised visitation, child support, and psychological services.

It is not necessary for cases to have legal issues and/or lawsuits pending. Disputes are almost always about feelings and needs of the parties, and won’t always “go away” even if there is a lawsuit.

Family Violence:  
CMC staff screen all disputes involving intimate partners or former intimate partners for domestic violence history and issues.  Our volunteer mediators are trained in how to screen cases and recognize and deal with issues of power and control between parties to mediation.  For more about domestic violence, go here.

How do I apply for mediation services?
Divorce-related mediation: Including parenting issues arising after a divorce is final. Call and request an application to be send to you by mail, email or fax. The application requires you to submit proof of income (usually a current tax return). Our staff will call you to set the fee and then schedule your mediation.
Price is a sliding scale based on family size and income.

Family mediation: Conflict over parenting and support when parents have not married or when another family member is involved. In cases involving children of never-married parents, one parent must file a petition to establish or modify visitation in Juvenile Court and then be referred to us.
Free if referred from Juvenile Court; otherwise, sliding scale

Mediation between parents and teens:Discipline; house rules; behavior affecting siblings, school, health, etc. These cases are usually referred to us from Juvenile Court before a petition is filed.
Free if referred from Juvenile Court; otherwise, sliding scale

Civil mediation: Workplace conflict, disputes over property or money, neighborhood disputes, landlord-tenant issues, roommate issues, problems with a contract or money owed.Call us for more information if you want to try to mediate a dispute before filing a lawsuit.
Mediation is offered for free on the day of court once the parties file and appear in Knox County General Sessions Court. Free if a lawsuit has been filed in General Sessions Court.  Otherwise, prices depend on type of case, income of parties, etc.

Victim-Offender Mediation: Domestic disputes, juvenile offenders, school fights, conflict between friends, roommates, neighbors, workmates etc.The victim of a crime may request mediation with the offender/perpetrator. The DA will approve the referral. We take referrals from Knox County General Sessions Court, and Juvenile Court. Please call us for more information.
Free

What role can an attorney fill in mediation?

The role of the attorney in mediation differs greatly from that of the attorney in litigation. In a mediation session, the attorney plays the role of counselor for his or her client.  Rather than presenting an argument, the attorney is asked to allow the client to speak for him/herself, and to be present to support and advise the client throughout the process.

Keep in mind that both sides must be able to communicate with each other.  The mediation process is geared toward reaching a workable agreement for both parties.  The attorney should encourage his/her client to enter the mediation to try to work with rather than against the opposing side.

The mediators function as neutral facilitators, and they will not make decisions for the clients, or give legal advice, or lead either party in any one direction.  The mediators help each client to communicate with one another, so that they can hear each other’s concerns.  The mediators aid the clients in identifying common issues, and in developing possible solutions to these issues.  The mediators then help the clients to work through the solutions, finding those that are practical for both parties.  Finally, the mediator assists the parties in drafting the mediated agreement, which will become a binding contract (or, if signed by a judge, an enforceable order) between the parties.

The attorney is encouraged to help the client review the mediated agreement before signing the contract.

Attorneys are welcome at mediation sessions, unless asked by their client to withdraw.  If an attorney is unable to attend a session, s/he should arrange a method of communication with the client if the attorney’s advice is needed during the session.  Cell phone are sometimes used.

The client can also request that she be able to consult her attorney before signing the agreement.  At the beginning of the mediation, the mediators will ask if the participants are able to sign if they reach an agreement.  At that time, the client should inform the mediators of the need to confer with their (absent) counsel before signing.

How can I become a CMC volunteer mediator?
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If I am divorcing, do I have to mediate?
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How much does it cost?
Please visit our payment page for more information.

Who comes to mediation?
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Can mediators provide legal advice to me?
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What can I expect from CMC during a mediation session?
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