To find a dispute resolution program in your community, visit the California Coalition for Community Mediation's website. You will find a list of ADR services as well as more information on ADR.
You can also contact your local bar association. To find a bar association in your area, contact the State Bar's Lawyer Referral Services program. (Type your county or region in the search box). Or, look up "Arbitrators" or "Mediators" in the yellow pages of your local telephone book.
Also, there are specific ADR services for certain topics. See if the list below has the topic that relates to your dispute:
Attorney Fees: The State Bar of California has a Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program to resolve fee disputes between lawyers and their clients. The program is informal, low-cost, and mandatory for a lawyer if a client requests it. Mediation of disputes about attorney fees is available in some areas of California.
Automotive Repair, Smog Check: The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) offers free mediation for consumers who are not happy with an auto repair, smog check, or an invoice for these services. BAR registers and regulates California automotive repair facilities and licenses smog, lamp, and brake inspection stations. To learn more, visit BAR's website or call 1-800-952-5210.
Burglar Alarm Companies, Cemetery/Funeral, Electronic and Appliance Repair, Firearms/Baton Training Facilities/Instructors, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation, Locksmith Companies, Private Investigators, Private Patrol Operators, Repossession Agencies, Security Guards: The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) offers mediation for consumer complaints against certain kinds of California businesses: cemetery and funeral, electronic and appliance repair, firearms/baton training facilities and instructors, home furnishings and thermal insulation, locksmith companies, repossession agencies, and security and investigative services. To learn more, visit the Complaint Help Page of the DCA or call 1-800-952-5210.
When parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, they are required to go to mediation before they go in front of a judge to talk about custody and visitation. Each court in California has a Family Court Services program to help parents make custody agreements.
Family Law Cases
When parties in a family law case agree on some or all of the issues, they can usually write up the agreement, have the judge sign it, and then file it with the court. This can be done before filing a request for a court hearing, or after filing it but before the hearing itself takes place. It can also be done after a hearing, to change a previous agreement or court order. Click to find out more about Agreements in Family Law Cases.
There are many issues affecting landlords and tenants that can be resolved in mediation. You can often work out your security deposit dispute or disagreements over rent, repairs and others with the help of a trained mediator. Some courts offer mediation when you are involved in an unlawful detainer (eviction) case too. Click to watch a video about Resolving Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) Cases in mediation (also available in Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese).
Many courts have mediation programs for small claims cases. Contact your County's small claims legal advisor. If you cannot find your county, call the clerk of the superior court in your county for help. And, click to watch a video called Resolving Your Small Claims in the California Courts (also available in Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese).
Debt Collection (Small Claims and Other Debts)
The video Resolving Your Debt Collection Case in the California Courts provides information about the options for resolving many types of debts, before or after a court action is filed. If someone is trying to collect a debt that you dispute or are unable to pay, watching this video may help. Also available in Spanish, and Vietnamese.