EMMET COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- A northern Michigan non-profit is celebrating its 25th year of helping people with mediation outside of the courts.
Northern Community Mediation is located in Downtown Petoskey in the old St. Francis Monastery and serves both Emmet and Charlevoix County.
Volunteer mediators resolve disputes over things like divorce, guardianship, breach of contract and child protection outside of court.
They said this saves local courts time and money.
The only thing they can't mediate is innocence or guilt in a criminal case.
“The beauty of mediation is the fact that the parties come to the table. The mediators do not make a decision," said Northern Community Mediation's executive director, Jane Millar. "It is the parties themselves that come up with the solution, and that’s what makes it so unique as compared with litigation where the judge or the jury tells you what the verdict will be.”
Northern Community Mediation gets funding from the state and from county courts but about a quarter of its funding comes from donations.
It is also always looking for volunteer mediators.
Most mediations are provided for free, except for divorce cases.
Northern Community mediated more than 1,000 cases in 2017.