FSCM offers free mediation services in all Small Claims cases in the following District Courts:
Worcester (Tues & Thurs @8:45am each week);
Westborough (2nd and 4th @ 1pm Tuesday each month);
Milford (1st and 3rd Wednesday each month);
Dudley (1st Tuesday of each month); and
Uxbridge (when requested by the court).
Litigants are able to request mediation either on the day of trial or can schedule mediation in advance in an effort to settle outside of court at our offices.
Mediation is an opportunity to have a conversation with the other side to your case to see if you are able to reach an agreement without the court deciding for you.
Mediation is voluntary, meaning both sides need to agree to have a conversation.
Mediation is confidential, meaning Mediators do not report what is said in mediation to anyone outside our program with two exceptions – 1) if a party says they are going to hurt themselves or someone else, or 2) if a party says they plan to commit a crime – Mediators cannot be called to testify.
Mediators are neutral, meaning they do not give legal advice, make suggestions or tell parties what to do. Rather, Mediators help facilitate a conversation see if parties can reach an agreement that works for them.
If you reach agreement, Mediators can help you write it, and submit it to the court for approval. Once approved you will be free to leave. If you can’t reach agreement, or mediation simply isn’t working for you, you can return to court where you will still have your trial.
I have a credit collection case can I mediate? Creditors typically do not use mediation services because they want to negotiate directly with you. It is best to:
1) Contact the Creditor Plaintiff and make arrangements with them; or
2) Wait until your day of trial where you will get an opportunity to meet with the attorney handling your case. There you will get the option to either settle, or have a trial.
If you missed your court date – see answer below.
How long does mediation take? It depends. Often parties, especially ones who do not have legal representation, have not yet had the opportunity to speak to each other. Mediation can be helpful in these instances because it affords parties the opportunity to have a conversation.
Should I bring evidence into mediation? No, unless it is something you believe will be useful for the other party in your case to see. Mediators do not make judgments or evaluate who is right or wrong based on any verbal or physical “evidence.” Parties themselves make all the decisions and decide whether they want to come to an agreement. An alternative is to return to court where evidence can be presented to the Magistrate who can and will decide for you.
I have limited income, can I be forced to pay? There are limitations in which a party can be made to pay a court judgment. The court will require the paying party to fill out a financial affidavit. Parties who receive certain benefits cannot be required to pay judgments using those funds. To learn more, please contact the court where your case is filed.
I have to miss or I missed my court date, can I reschedule? This is not something Family Services of Central Massachusetts can assist you with. You must call the court to which you were summonsed to appear.
Worcester District Court (508) 757-8350
Westborough District Court (508) 366-8266
Milford (508) 473-1260
Dudley (508) 943-7123
Uxbridge (508) 278-2454