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Mediation Services

Mediation Can Help You or Someone You Know

What is Mediation?
Mediation is a confidential, usually voluntary, process of shared decision-making in which one or more impartial persons, called mediators, assist people, organizations and communities in conflict to work toward a variety of goals.

Mediation encourages parties to:

  • Improve communication, understanding and empathy
  • Improve relationships
  • Avoid or improve involvement with the legal system and courts
  • Reach their own decisions
  • Resolve underlying issues and conflicts
  • Prevent future problems

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Who Do We Serve?
The Dispute Resolution Center serves the East Metro area of the Twin Cities, which includes anyone who, lives or works in Ramsey, Dakota and Washington Counties. We provide services to individuals, families, neighbors, government agencies, businesses, municipalities and community groups to resolve a variety of issues.

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What Is the Role of the Mediator?
The primary responsibility for any resolution rests with parties. The mediator is neutral and does not decide who is right or wrong or give opinions on the issues. The mediator ensures that the session is conducted in a safe and respectful manner and that everyone has a chance to be heard.

A mediator assists people in conflict to make practical, informed decisions by working to:

  • Help define and clarify their ideas, issues and goals in the session
  • Facilitate communication and explore mutual understanding of the issues and feelings in a conflict
  • Explore options and alternatives for resolution and reach a satisfactory agreement

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What Type of Disputes Do We Handle?

  • Neighborhood - noise, pets, relationships, parking, property lines, nuisances, vandalism…
  • Landlord-Tenant - rent, deposits, repairs, evictions, co-tenants conflicts…
  • Family - post-divorce visitation schedules, parent/child issues, truancy, communication…
  • Small Claims - accidents, money owed, property damage…
  • Business-Consumer - refunds, faulty merchandise, dissatisfaction with service…
  • Public Policy - zoning, land use and development, traffic, parking, road construction…

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Why Use Mediation?
The Dispute Resolution Center provides an opportunity for people to work together in good faith to resolve their disputes. People are more satisfied with agreements they help create. They are also much more likely to follow through on the agreement than if a third party imposes a settlement or solution. Mediation can improve relationships and prevent problems from escalating.

Mediation is:

  • Voluntary - Each person has the opportunity to choose whether to try mediation
  • Quick - Sessions can usually be scheduled within two weeks
  • Convenient - Sessions can be arranged in a neutral location at a time that fits each person's schedule
  • Confidential - Information shared in the session is private and protected
  • Self-Determined - Parties decide for themselves the best way to resolve the issues.

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What is Restitution?
Victims and offenders decide together during the mediation session what is fair and just compensation. Contracts often include an agreement to repay a cash amount to replace the victim's losses, community service, personal service work and other creative plans for restitution that both parties agree to. This provides the offender an opportunity to repair the harm they have caused by committing the offense.

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How Does It Work?
A case can be referred through the juvenile court system or by anyone in the community. Once a case is referred for mediation, a mediator is assigned to each case to assist victims and offenders through the process. The mediators contact both parties to learn the details of the incident and to explain the program procedures. If both parties agree, the mediator will set a date for them to meet. During the mediation, specific rules are employed which help to ensure safety and fairness for all participants. Parties generally close the mediation session by agreeing to a contract that details a plan of repayment for the offense.

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How Do I Get Assistance?
Call us at 651.292.7791 and we will ask you questions to help you determine if mediation is your best option. Here's What We Do:

  • We will ask you about the situation and what issues you would like to discuss
  • We will contact the other people involved, explain the Dispute Resolution Center's services, and ask them if they wish to participate
  • When everyone involved has agreed to mediate, we will schedule a session at a time and place convenient for all
  • If an agreement is reached, the mediator will write down the terms of the agreement and provide a copy to each person
  • If no agreement is reached, parties are free to pursue all other options available to them
  • If we cannot help you we will refer you to other resources for assistance

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What's the cost?
Fees are dependent upon the type of case and number of participants involved. Sliding fees are available for those who meet income guidelines. No one is denied service for inability to pay. Please call (651) 292-7791 for more information.

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Promoting the constructive resolution of conflict through open communication and shared decision-making.
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