Mediation Program

The Ottawa County Municipal Court Mediation Program enables the participants to voluntarily resolve their dispute rather than the court. The program is available for all disputes within the jurisdiction of the Court. The mediator is a trained neutral, impartial third party, who assists disputing parties to develop a mutually acceptable and confidential solution for themselves.

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.

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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.
Mediation services are available to anyone contemplating filing a civil or small claims case in the Ottawa County Municipal Court.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This agreement is between the parties to the conflict and it is your responsibility to follow through on your commitments.
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.
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