What is Small Claims Mediation?

Mediation is an opportunity for you to have a conversation with the other side to see if you are able to reach an agreement without the court deciding for you.

Litigants are able to request mediation either on the day of trial or they can schedule mediation in advance in an effort to settle outside of court at our offices.

Mediation is always:

  • Voluntary – Both sides need to agree to have a conversation

  • Confidential – 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
    2. If a party says they plan to commit a crime
  • Neutral – Mediators do not give legal advice, make suggestions or tell parties what to do. They are there to help facilitate a conversation to see if both parties can reach an agreement that works for them. Mediators cannot be called to testify.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.
3) You may also reach out to the Worcester Consumer Rights Program (WCRP) a local consumer program (LCP) that works in cooperation with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO).

If you missed your court date – see answer below.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Proud Members of the National Association for Community Mediation

Working in cooperation with the Office of the Attorney General, the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, and the Massachusetts Trial Court.

FSCM offers free mediation services in all Small Claims cases in the following District Courts:

Worcester

Tues, Weds, Thurs @ 8:45am each week

Worcester District Court

(508) 757-8350

Westborough

2nd, 3rd and 4th Tuesday @ 1pm each month

Westborough District Court

(508) 366-8266

Milford

1st and 3rd Wednesday @ 9am each month

Milford District Court

(508) 473-1260

Dudley

1st Tuesday @ 1pm each month

Dudley District Court

(508) 943-7123

Uxbridge

2nd and 4th Monday @ 11am each month

Uxbridge District Court

(508) 278-2454

CONTACT US

If you would like more information about our mediation services, training programs or you are interested in volunteering, please contact us by phone, email or by using the form below.

Sabrina R. Bohun – Director, Mediation
31 Harvard Street, Worcester, MA 01609
Tel: 508-756-4646
sbohun@fscm.org

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Learn new skills, meet new people, and lead a healthier, more-fulfilled life. Contact us today to make a difference in your community!