Mediation provides a space for constructive dialogue around the important questions that face a family going through change. Learn more about how mediation can be helpful in these cases:
Divorce and Matrimonial
A neutral third party called a “mediator” helps the couple to work through the issues of their divorce and reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Please note that cases where domestic violence, drug/alcohol abuse or child neglect/abuse are present are not appropriate for mediation.
Finding a Divorce Mediator
- Ask court staff for a referral to a court-based mediation program, if your case is already in court. Most court programs offer parties a free, initial mediation session, followed by reduced-fee follow-up sessions.
- Check with your local Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC). Most CDRCs offer free mediation of parenting disputes. For help to resolve financial or other aspects of divorce (e.g., support, property and debt division), couples can ask for a referral list of trained, divorce mediators who can take cases on a fee-for-service basis.
- Contact the Divorce Mediation Clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. The clinic offers free divorce mediation to qualifying couples living in New York State. For more information about free or low-fee divorce mediation, send an email with your telephone number to Intake.firstname.lastname@example.org or call (212) 790-0875. Sessions are conducted online.
- Contact NYLAG's Mediation Project, which provides free mediation for low-income New Yorkers living in NYC and the surrounding suburbs.
- Check with professional dispute resolution associations.
Learn More about Divorce in New York.
In addition to mediation, Collaborative Law is a popular method of ADR used in divorce matters.
The New York City Family Court Custody/Visitation Mediation Program accepts custody and visitation cases pending in the family courts of all five counties. Cases are referred by the judge or referee. Either party may request that the judge or referee refer the case to mediation at any time. All referrals are screened before the mediation session begins to determine whether the matter is appropriate for mediation.
For matters outside of court or outside of New York City, check with your local Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC). Most CDRCs offer free mediation of parenting disputes. For help to resolve financial or other aspects of divorce (e.g., support, property and debt division), couples can ask for a referral list of trained, divorce mediators who can take cases on a fee-for-service basis.
Child Permanency and Foster Care
Mediation is available for permanency matters stemming from child welfare cases pending before the Family Courts. Mediation sessions are held by mediators trained by the NYS Child Welfare Court Improvement Project to specifically mediate child protective matters.
Many Community Dispute Resolution Centers have specialized programs that help parents and support people to address matters centering around the behavior of young people. Programs may be school-based or offered through a partnership with a court or law enforcement.