Mediation is a process by which an impartial third party, called the mediator, assists disputing parties to develop a mutually acceptable solution for themselves. In mediation, the role of the mediator is not to decide the outcome of the dispute, but to facilitate discussions that will help obtain a settlement that is fair to all the participants. If the participants are able to reach an agreement, the mediator will write down on an Agreement Form what each participant has agreed to do to resolve the dispute.
The Ottawa County Municipal Court Mediation Program enables the participants to voluntarily resolve their dispute rather than the court. The program is:
The mediation process begins when a party to a dispute decides to use mediation instead of filing a lawsuit or criminal charges. However, a participant's failure to appear for a scheduled mediation or to call the court to reschedule at least two days prior to the mediation may remove mediation as an option to settle the dispute. On the day of the mediation, the participants should arrive prior to the scheduled time so they can fill out the Agreement to Mediate form. The participants will meet the mediator and be guided to the room where the mediation will take place. The mediator will then start the mediation. Participants will be given ample opportunity to explain how they see the issues involved in the dispute. Once all the issues have been established, the mediator will ask the participants for suggestions on how to resolve the issues. If the participants are able to resolve their issues and work out an agreement, this will be written down by the mediator as the settlement agreement. Each participant will review and sign the agreement.
Mediation is a free service of the Ottawa County Municipal Court. If mediation is requested before filing a case, the cost of the filing fees can be saved.
Who can use the mediation services?
Mediation services are available to anyone contemplating filing a civil or small claims case in the Ottawa County Municipal Court.
How do I initiate a mediation?
If you have a concern that you think could be resolved through mediation, the first step is to call the Ottawa County Municipal Court at (419) 734-4143. The deputy clerk will share specific information about the mediation process with you. You will need to share information about the dispute that you would like to mediate in order to start the intake process.
What is the mediator's role?
The mediators' role is not to decide who is right or wrong or who wins or loses. Rather, the mediator is a completely neutral party who facilitates the process to help the parties reach their own resolution to the matter.
What is the role of participants?
Participants initiate the process by requesting mediation. They agree to ground rules at the beginning of the session, describe the conflict, and agree on the list of issues to be discussed. Participants generate potential solutions, negotiate in good faith, and work towards mutually acceptable solutions.
What are the advantages of using mediation?
Mediation allows parties to develop their own solutions, rather than having others' solutions imposed on them. This creates greater ownership and commitment to the solution. Mediation is a very effective way to resolve disputes between parties who will continue to work together over time. It not only solves the problem at hand, but improves working relationships as well.
Is the settlement agreement binding?
This agreement is between the parties to the conflict and it is your responsibility to follow through on your commitments.
If I agree to mediation, am I required to agree to a solution?
You can withdraw from the mediation process at any time with no consequences to you. You are not required to agree to any particular solution. The parties themselves develop a solution that is acceptable to all parties to the mediation.
Who pays for the process?
It is a free service of the Ottawa Municipal Court.
Below you will find the Mediation Complaint form. To download the form, right-click the link below and click "Save Target As..." (exact wording may vary).
Note: This file is in Adobe PDF format and requires the FREE Adobe Reader for viewing.
Hours of Operation
Mon, Tue, Thu:
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Wed & Fri:
7:00 am - 4:30 pm
2nd Thursday of each
month at 5:30 pm
(call court to schedule)