ST. JOSEPH — People with conflicts in Southwest Michigan have a new way to virtually find resolution through MI Resolve, offered by Citizens Mediation Service in St. Joseph.

"That allows people who have a dispute to be able to go online and resolve that dispute," said Jenny Miner, executive director at Citizens Mediation Services, during the Berrien County ALPACT meeting Tuesday.

The free online program launched Tuesday at her center for the counties of Berrien, Branch, Cass, St. Joseph, Van Buren and Kalamazoo.

"It does not have to be a court-ordered dispute. It could be any dispute that you have with a neighbor, with a landlord-tenant situation. It can be any kind of general civil case," Miner said of the program, which is sponsored by the Michigan Supreme Court Office of Dispute Resolution.

More information can be found at www.citizensmediation.org or by contacting Miner by calling 982-7898, or by emailing jenny@citizensmediation.org.

A video explaining how MI Resolve works can be found at courts.mi.gov/HowToMIResolve.

"Hopefully, this will be another way to bring peace to our community through appropriate ways of solving conflict," Miner said.

Through the program, people can negotiate directly with each other or have a mediator from Citizens Mediation Service help them resolve a dispute. 

If the dispute is resolved, the system produces the necessary court forms for filing in the individual courts, according to a news release from Citizens Mediation Service.

Miner said the program is especially useful as residents continue to shelter-in-place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To use the program, people have to live, work or have a dispute arising in one of the participating counties. Statewide, there are 44 counties that now use MI Resolve.

People must also be at least 18 years, have an active email address and access to the internet.

Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege