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Where do our  mediation referrals come from?



Community Mediation Center
Program Descriptions

::General Sessions Civil   ::General Sessions Criminal   ::Juvenile Court 
::Divorce  ::PES   ::DV Screening   ::Non-court Programs
::Fee-based Programs   ::Training

Court-based Programs:

1. General Sessions Civil Court
involves adults suing each other in matters such as landlord tenant disputes, collections, consumer issues, neighbor disputes, torts such as damages from a car accident, etc.  In most cases the maximum amount a person can sue for is $25,000. We also do “Sessions Divorces” for unmarried couples or roommates who have property disputes caused by splitting up.

::Knox County General Sessions Court Mediation

2. General Sessions Criminal Court involves two opportunities for mediation:

a. Where a Warrant has been issued:
In these cases a person has been charged with a crime, and the DA feels that mediation would be appropriate. Usually these involve assault, theft, or harassment, where the people in dispute are neighbors or have some long-standing relationship. Many of these cases involve former couples and issues of child visitation.

b. Before a Warrant has issued (Pre-Warrant):
These cases are referred from the DA, Judicial Commissioner, or law enforcement staff. When a person attempts to file charges against someone, they go before a Judicial Commissioner (JC) or DA. If the DA or JC feels that the case would be better served by mediation, he/she may choose to refer to mediation rather than grant a warrant to charge the defendant with a crime. Usually these cases involve similar issues & relationships to those where a warrant has been issued.


3. Juvenile Court involves 4 programs:

a. Juvenile Justice & Status Offense Cases:
These cases involve delinquent youth who have been received a charge in situations such as school fights, theft, vandalism, or harassment.  We also mediate cases involving youth who have been charged with an offense which is against the law because the offender is a minor:  runaway, smoking, curfew violation, truancy.

The young disputants may resolve their case so that they have no Juvenile Court record.

We also mediate cases where the child is in detention and needs a probation plan before going home.

Truancy Cases:
CMC mediates between the truant student, the parents or legal guardians, and a school representative.  When children in middle and high school are truant, their cases are referred to CMC by Knox County Schools.  The successful mediation prevents both parent and child from being prosecuted for truancy by the Knox County District Attorney. Truancy is usually the “tip of the iceberg”, so we also provide a screening for special education needs, school bullying & harassment, abuse and neglect, substance abuse and other issues which may also be present. These cases are mediated before a warrant is issued.

b. Parenting and Visitation Cases: These usually involve unmarried parents who have issues concerning parenting responsibilities and/or  visitation. Often one parent's access to their child has been limited due to drug, alcohol, or other addictions. Sometimes a grandparent has been given custody and needs to work out visitation with the parents to maintain a relationship with the child.

c. Parent/Teen: We get referrals where the child/teen resides with the parent but they have communication or discipline issues. CMC will help the parent & child come up with ground rules for living together and help them work on communication and discipline.

d. Dependency Mediation:  CMC receives referrals from the Department of Children's Services to mediate between parties involved in a juvenile court case when a child is removed from its parents and put into foster care because of allegations of abuse and neglect.  The State of Tennessee is then the child's legal custodian, and the parent must fulfill the requirements of a "permanency plan" so that the child can be returned home.  If the parents cannot do so, the parents' rights may be terminated and the child will be placed with an adoptive family.  In mediation, DCS, the natural parents, the foster parents and various agency helpers may be able to solve problems which shorten the child's time in foster care. 


4. Divorce:
CMC provides divorce services on a sliding fee scale based on income and family size. Both parties must be willing to voluntarily participate. Mediators help parties draft a Marital Dissolution Agreement and Parenting Plan if applicable. Parties are given these documents and instructions to hire an attorney or go to Legal Aid (if they qualify) to file the divorce.

:: Required parenting education classes
Knox County Fourth Circuit Court
Knox County Chancery Court


5. Parenting Mediation Education Coordination:
CMC has coordinated the program since it became one of 6 pilots in the state in 1997. Divorcing or divorced parents can be ordered to mandatory mediation by divorce courts to resolve parenting plan issues. CMC provides intake, domestic violence screening, and mediator referrals for all divorce or post-divorce cases needing assistance from either 4th Circuit or Chancery Court. Mediators are Rule 31 listed, and are paid directly by parties. We are currently exploring ways to better serve the clients, the local family bar, and the courts.


6. Domestic Violence Screening
CMC screens all mediation cases for indicia of domestic violence during the disputants’ initial interview with staff (intake). We train our volunteer mediators in domestic violence screening protocol, and in how to terminate mediation safely when it becomes necessary because of domestic violence issues arising in the context of mediation. We believe the screening process is continuous. CMC also provides domestic violence training for Rule 31 mediators and is working with the Family Justice Center to develop ways to mediate cases where there is a history of family violence.


Non-Court Programs:

1. Peer Mediation-Schools:
CMC Provides peer mediation training in 12 schools currently in Knox County, and previously trained Alcoa & Heritage High Schools in Blount County. 2nd Annual Mediation Fest took place Friday April 16 with 15 schools participating.

2. Adult Protective Services:
We have received referrals to mediate cases where there is concern that an elder or disabled person is receiving inappropriate care in an institution, nursing home, or at home.

3. Neighborhoods:
CMC works with local police & sheriff depts. to mediate referrals before the conflict rises to level of arrest. Cases often include boundary disputes, landlord tenant and public housing disputes, noise, dogs, etc.

4. Mediation between and within Organizations:
CMC mediates disputes or communication problems within nonprofit organizations and small businesses (staff-staff disputes, staff-board disputes, etc.) and between organizations and small businesses.

5. SWORPS Visitation:
CMC has signed a contract with the UT School of Social Work, Research and Policy. CMC will mediate referrals from a new program developed by SWORPS in conjunction with Child Support Enforcement Services. These cases are similar to those received from Child Support Court, in that they are usually unmarried parents with child support and visitation issues. The parties may or may not be involved in a court process, but the staff at the Enforcement office may refer the parties to mediation to resolve visitation and parenting (not child support) issues.


Fee Based Services

1. Organizational Mediation:  When governmental agencies, nonprofits and private businesses, big and small, have an internal conflict, or when two organizations are in dispute or would like to collaborate, mediation is a confidential and thoughtful way to clarify and resolve issues.

2.  Land Use Mediation:  An example of a case would be a dispute between residents of a development and a developer planning new construction in the area.

3. Special Education Mediation:
Usually these are cases where parents have issues about the quality of services a school is providing their child, or dispute a disciplinary action.



1. Volunteer Training:

Training is held at least once each year, in the Fall. Usually 14-24 students per class, 35-40 hours total. Class is held over a two-weekend period. CMC staff and seasoned volunteers assist with teaching and role-play. CMC charges participants a low tuition to cover our costs; in addition, new volunteers must agree to mediate for CMC for one year.  The volunteer mediator has an opportunity to observe real mediations done by our experienced mediators, and has access to our year-round mentoring and training modules.

2.  Volunteer "Bridge" Training:  This training is for those mediators who have already taken approved Rule 31 training (civil or family) and who would like to volunteer to co-mediate for CMC.  Mediators benefit from experience, and CMC provides the professional with interesting and challenging mediations, as well as providing an opportunity to give back to the community.  Each spring, we conduct a bridge training for civil mediators and a bridge training for juvenile/dependency mediation.

4. Community Housing (TCAC):
Services provided through a grant from HUD that passes through TCAC. CMC has included TCAC (TN Community Action Committee) staff and residents of housing authorities from around East TN at five of our volunteer mediator classes, approximately 28 people. Additionally, CMC has provided workshops at the annual TCAC conference, and has provided on-site mediation and meeting facilitation, as well as additional training for residents.

5. Workplace Training/Mediation:
This is a fee-based service. CMC has occasionally been asked to provide mediation for local businesses and non-profit organizations. CMC has also provided several 2-3 hour workshops for non-profit employees on conflict resolution. For non-profits and small businesses, our fees are reduced.  Please call and ask for information.

6. Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities:  Staff training in conflict management & resolution skills.

7. Facilitation/Mediation training




about cmc






community mediation center :: 912 South Gay Street :: Suite L300 ::  Knoxville, TN  37902 :: P865.594.1879 :: F865.594.1890 :: info@2mediate.org