About Upstate Mediation
Who we are
The Upstate Community Mediation Center is a non-profit organization that offers a voluntary alternative to the adversarial Court process by resolving disputes through use of mediation. We aim to promote the use of mediation and other non-adversarial means of resolving conflicts and to nurture peace by restoring and strengthening family, business and community relationships.
How we started
In Greenville County, mediation is required before a final order is issued in Family Court, Common Pleas Court (with some limited exceptions) and, since 2007, Probate Court. The result has been that many cases settle either during or soon after the mediation, thereby easing the courts’ caseloads and saving litigants time and money. Like many good ideas, however, mandatory mediation had an unintended consequence in that parties with little or no financial resources now faced an additional expense. Private mediators in the Greenville area charge from $175 to $350 per hour, which can be prohibitive for many people. Thus was born the Upstate Mediation Center, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization which provides mediation services at a flat rate based on income and which does not refuse services because of an inability to pay. The parties often do not have lawyers and are not familiar with the legal system. The UMC is unique in the Upstate; in fact, the only other similar organization in the state of South Carolina is located in Columbia.
Helping from within the community
The types of mediations offered at the UMC are as varied as the people who walk through the doors. Issues range from the allocation of property when a church membership divides to repairing family relationships that have been ruptured for generations. In addition to court-mandated mediations, the UMC is implementing new programs addressing the needs of people facing challenges caused by increased economic stresses. All of this requires more mediators — people of diverse professional and community backgrounds — who are willing to be trained in mediation skills and to volunteer a few hours a month or a year. The UMC uses trained lay and attorney mediators, all of whom generously volunteer their time and expertise. It also requires increased financial support so that the UMC can continue to provide services at affordable rates.
Read about how we've helped
Upstate Mediation Center Celebrates National Conflict Resolution Day
The Upstate Mediation Center celebrated National Conflict Resolution Day on October 20th with a reception at Greenville’s Historic Kilgore-Lewis House to honor volunteer mediators and funders. At this years’ event, UMC Volunteer Leah Parisi was awarded for conducting the most mediations in 2016...
Peer Mediation Skills Taught to Greer Middle IB School Students
On October 23rd, twenty-four Greer Middle IB School students attended a five-hour training session in basic peer mediation skills conducted by volunteer mediators from the Upstate Mediation Center (UMC). The training took place at the Greenville Chamber of Commerce...
Community – Police Mediation Program Launched
Greenville, SC – The Upstate Mediation Center (UMC) and the Greenville Police Department and are launching a new Community – Police Mediation Program that is designed to provide an alternative forum for resolving certain types of citizen complaints. Through this program, specially-trained professional UMC mediators will guide citizens and police officers through a face-to-face facilitated discussion in a neutral, confidential environment.
Since its founding 20 years ago, countless UMC volunteers have helped literally thousands of parties settle their differences. Due in large part to the current economic conditions, the demand for services has increased dramatically.
Since 2009, the UMC had expanded its services and clients served at a rate of 10% per year.