Mediation Services

When you have a conflict, think Mediation FIRST!

Groundswell provides conflict resolution services to all Orange County residents.

Community Mediation

Groundswell provides up to 8 hours of mediation service to Orange County residents at no charge*. After completing a Mediation Inquiry Form below, a case manager will contact you within 2 working days to explain what mediation is (and isn’t!). Then you can decide if Groundswell’s mediation services could be helpful in your unique situation. If so, the Case Manager will ask for contact information for the other side so we can contact them to see if they wish to participate. Mediation is always a voluntary process and Groundswell can only proceed with convening a mediation when both parties have agreed to participate.
Most parties who participate in mediation reach a mutually agreeable solution that enables them to put the conflict behind them. However, if the mediation is not successful, parties still have the option to pursue litigation through the courts. We encourage you to try mediation as early as possible in the conflict to minimize the trauma created by the dispute for both parties. *If parties find they will require more than 8 hours of mediation time, they can discuss adding additional time. If a contract for additional time is initiated, each party to be charged on a sliding-scale fee basis. Please note: Groundswell will not deny service to any party based on an inability to pay.

What is Mediation?

Mediation provides parties with a way to address a conflict situation before it escalates to the point that the parties go to court and/or personal relationships are destroyed. In mediation, parties work together in a non-adversarial process facilitated by the mediator to understand their different perspectives on the problem and collaborate to find a solution that can work for both of them. Mediation allows parties to focus on their unique set of circumstances and explore creative solutions in areas of disagreement.
The goal of the mediation is to help parties overcome communication obstacles that are preThe goal of the mediation is to help parties overcome communication obstacles that are preventing them from working together effectively to reach their own agreements and ideally avoid going to court. The mediator does not make decisions, suggest solutions, or provide any legal advice to the parties. Mediation sessions typically range from 2 to 3 hours. The mediator’s role in the process is to provide a safe place for the parties to:
The length of a particular mediation varies depending on the complexity of the issues to be addressed and the emotional elements associated with the dispute. All communications during and associated with the mediation are confidential. While there is no guarantee that mediation will result in agreement on all issues, experience shows that parties benefit greatly from the cooperative climate of mediation. At the conclusion of the mediation process, the mediator will prepare an Agreement Form listing the specific agreements the parties have reached. Parties have the option to keep the terms private or allow for the agreements to be binding and admissible in court, depending on the case type. The mediator will work with the parties to help them decide which outcome is more appropriate for their situation. In some situations, filing paperwork with the court is required. If the parties do not reach any agreements through the mediation process, they do not have to worry that participation in mediation can negatively impact them because discussions conducted during mediation are confidential.

To have a case manager contact you to discuss our mediation services in more detail, please complete the inquiry form

Court Mediation

Utilizing funding made available through the Dispute Resolution Programs Act (DRPA), Groundswell identifies, trains, and supervises community volunteers to provide mediation services to parties who are involved in court disputes at the Central and Lamoreaux Justice Centers of the OC Superior Courts. Groundswell has been providing mediation services in the OC Superior Courts for over 20 years where staff and volunteer mediators mediate over 1000 disputes annually. Court ordered services are offered free of charge (for up to 8 hours) and can be scheduled in advance of or on the day of the court hearing.

Who Are the Mediators?

Groundswell relies on the support of volunteer mediators to be able to provide sliding-scale mediation services to the public. All mediators complete a DRPA-approved mediation training before being eligible to volunteer in the mediation program.

To Learn More About Mediation or Mediator Training and If You Have Questions: 

Email [email protected]

Thank you for considering the opportunity that mediation offers for resolving conflict in a peaceful and respectful manner.