Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2006-09-15

The Cumberland Community Mediation Center (CCMC) of Samford's Cumberland School of Law has teamed with Jefferson County Family Court to pilot a project that will assist parents of college-bound teenagers.

Volunteer attorneys are sought to assist with the new project, which will provide free mediation services to parties who file petitions in family court for post minority support. Such petitions generally are filed by a custodial parent before a child reaches age 19 to request that the non-custodial parent assist with the child's college expenses.

The initial training meeting for volunteers will be Friday, Sept. 29, from 8:45 a.m. until noon at the Jefferson County Family Court building, located at 120 2nd Court North.

Sessions will be led by family court presiding judge J. Brian Huff, CCMC director Cassandra W. Adams, family court administrator Jeffrey McGee and family court programs director Janis Sorrell.

Attorneys interested in volunteering should contact Adams by phone at (205) 726-4342 or by email at:

In addition to its newest program, the CCMC provides a variety of cost-free and confidential mediation services that family court administrators and community members have found helpful.

"The strongest benefit for mediating a family dispute is that already stressed family relationships are not further strained by protracted litigation," said the court's judge Huff.

CCMC's mediation services are conducted by volunteer attorneys, Cumberland law students and community members who have been trained in community mediation. The CCMC mediates disputes between family members, neighbors, friends or roommates, as well as landlord/tenant and consumer/merchant disagreements.

"Our goal for the center is to provide mediation services to help resolve disputes between organizations and parties who cannot afford the services of a paid mediator, while greatly expanding the mediation training of our students," said Cumberland dean John L. Carroll.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.