Community Mediation

Community Mediation

What is Mediation?

Mediation helps people work through a disagreement.  Mediation helps disputing parties communicate and understand their concerns and needs in a situation, identify and consider possible solution options, reach a mutually agreeable solution and put the agreement into a written form. A mediator has no decision-making authority. Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, a mediator does not decide what is right or wrong or make suggestions about ways to resolve a problem. Mediation is based on the voluntary cooperation and good faith participation of all parties. Although participation in some mediation programs may be mandatory, reaching agreement is always voluntary. To start the process or to  refer a case, please call 812-336-8677 or email today!

Why Choose Community Mediation?

Mediation makes sense – In mediation, you are in control.  You make your own decisions about what is best.  The solution is determined by the people who will live with the consequences.  Mediators facilitate constructive conversations to assist parties reach agreements which best meet their needs.

Mediation is voluntary – Participants only mediate if they choose to and have the option to stop at any time.

Mediation is confidential – Sessions are held in private, and mediators will not disclose what is said in a mediation session.  Mediators do not communicate confidential information to the other party. Mediators make no reports to courts or to anyone else.

Mediation is quick – We can schedule mediations within one to two weeks, and most require only two-three sessions.

Mediation is convenient – We can schedule mediation on weekdays in the morning, afternoon, evening and on some occasions, Saturdays.

Mediation is cost-effective – We offer low-cost services to insure they are accessible to you. When compared to attorney fees and the cost of litigation, mediation is often more cost-effective. It is CJAM’s mission to provide accessible services to the community.

Mediators encourage but do not require parties to obtain legal advice. Costs of lawyers’ advice are minimized since parties usually attend mediation without their lawyers, and reaching agreement avoids the costs of litigation.

Mediation can improve relationships! – Mediation fosters respect for differences in beliefs and backgrounds.  The process helps people to preserve and maintain ongoing relationships. Having a negative relationship with a neighbor, business associate, consumer, landlord or tenant, etc. can cause stress, reduce personal levels of happiness and satisfaction.

Mediation works! – Mediation has helped many in resolving seemingly intractable disputes.  Mediation has proven successful in helping parties reach agreements that meet their needs and with which they will comply, in building more constructive relationships, in helping parties learn from their conflict experience. With mediators’ help, parties can create solutions that meet their needs more effectively than those which judges can impose on them.

Types of disputes suitable for mediation:

Neighbor, Family, Friend

Workplace, Business


Community or Service Organization

Civil and Small Claims

Commercial & Contractor

Who are the Mediators?

CJAM mediators are trained and experienced in mediation skills. Our mediators are drawn from the community and often bring additional professional skills to the mediation. CJAM mediators are not lawyers or judges and do not give legal advice.

To start the process, refer a case now by filling out this Mediation Referral form and submitting it to  If you have any questions on how we can help you work out conflicts with a trained mediator, please call 812-336-8677 or email today!


Small Claims Mediation

What is CJAM’s involvement with the Small Claims Court?

A CJAM mediator attends Small Claims Court on Tuesday mornings to take referrals from the court.  When claims are disputed, the court does not decide the case at the initial hearing, but sets it for trial at a later date, usually 6 to 8 weeks later.  This gives a period of time in which the parties, if they wish, can try to reach agreement with the help of CJAM mediators.

How did CJAM come to be involved in that way?

CJAM has always received referrals from the small claims and other courts in civil disputes, but the Small Claims Court judges and CJAM decided 5 years ago that the process would be facilitated if CJAM attended court.  This has proven to be true.  Last year we received 75 referrals from the Small Claims Courts.

Why do parties choose to mediate?

Mediating with CJAM enables the parties to resolve their disputes without waiting for the later court hearing, and parties are frequently eager to get their disputes behind them.  Further, mediation can be arranged for times convenient for the parties, enabling them to avoid missing work.  Most important, the parties are in control.  They can reach agreements they believe are fair and meet their needs, and they can resolve the unpredictability of how the judge might decide the case.

Are agreements reached in mediation legally binding?

CJAM mediators help the parties write agreements that can be submitted to the court as a basis for entering a binding judgment for the case.

How much time does the mediation process take?

This varies a great deal depending on the particular case.  In a “typical” case, there will usually be an hour each for separate initial interviews of the parties and a face-to-face mediation session of about an hour and a half.

Is CJAM paid for this service?  How does CJAM get compensated for its time and resources for this?

CJAM asks the parties to pay a suggested donation of $50 for matters that do not exceed $6,000 of value in dispute and $100 for matters above $6,000.  CJAM does not receive substantial income from community mediation fees and relies on donations to support this work.

Does CJAM help with any type of dispute that may be in small claims court?

Yes, CJAM can work with most kinds of cases that come to small claims courts.  Landlord-tenant, contractor, sales, roommate, neighbor, and family disputes are common.

What kind of backgrounds do CJAM volunteer mediators have?  How are they qualified for small claims mediation?

CJAM mediators have a wide variety of backgrounds and ages.  Only a few are lawyers.  CJAM would like its mediator roster to reflect our diverse community.  CJAM mediators participate in basic mediation training (usually from CJAM) and work alongside experienced mediators in their initial cases.

Do judges require parties to go through CJAM mediation as part of their court case?

No, mediation is voluntary.  However, the judges do sometimes tell the parties they think mediation will benefit them and urge them to work with CJAM.

Are CJAM’s services available to parties who are not involved with small claims and other courts?

Absolutely!  CJAM’s community mediation program receives referrals from lawyers and other professionals and from social service and government agencies.  Some mediation clients come to CJAM on their own, having heard about us from friends, publicity in the papers, or research on the Web.

To start the process or to  refer a case, please call 812-336-8677 or email today!