Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Warren County Courts Offering Conflict Resolution Services

The Warren County General Sessions Court now offers a conflict resolution program that allows parties to have their conflict mediated rather than going to trial.

General Sessions Judge Ryan J. Moore said this offers an alternative to a lengthy trial for those taking a conflict to the Civil Docket or Small Claims Court. He said landlord and tenant disputes, and debtor and creditor conflicts are two common cases where mediation is available. He said the court offers a neutral party to work with the individuals involved to avoid a lengthy trial process.

“The parties have actual control over the outcome of their case versus going to trial,” Moore said. “Sometimes, you never know what a judge will do or what the court will rule. So, with mediation, the litigants have actual control over their case.”

Moore said Warren County also has domestic relations jurisdiction. This allows them to offer mediation for divorce cases or help parents in a custody battle craft a parenting plan. He said he has seen Warren County residents enter mediation with great animosity and leave as friends.

“A lot of times, these parties have a long relationship, a history,” Moore said. “Many times, it starts out good but by the time they get to court, that relationship has deteriorated. You know, Warren County is a small community. Everybody knows everybody and with mediation, if they’re about to work out an agreement that’s satisfactory to both of them, there may not be harsh feelings in the end.”

He said this creates a healthier environment in Warren County. He said the process is also an advantage from the judicial system’s point of view because it helps move along some of the many open cases in the court system without requiring resources for a trial. He said mediation is optional and if parties cannot reach an agreement after participating in conflict resolution, a judge can still hear the case.

“We want to keep these relationships as amicable as possible,” Moore said. “These, in many cases, are neighbors suing neighbors, and if we can repair and restore the relationship between parties, boy, that’s just an added bonus.”

Moore said the conflict resolution center covers 16 counties across the state. He said when a mediator is present for Small Claims Court, Moore will announce that option upon taking the bench and allow parties to consider working together to reach an agreement.