Mediation In NY Family & Divorce Courts- Comprehensive Overview

couple meeting with mediator

Mediation is a collaborative and effective process that can help parties in conflict resolve disputes related to family law and divorce. The process involves the use of a professional mediator who facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties with the goal of reaching a resolution. In recent years, mediation has become an increasingly popular form of dispute resolution in the New York Family and Divorce Courts, due to its many benefits over traditional litigation.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a legal process that involves a neutral third-party mediator who helps parties resolve their conflict. The mediator does not make decisions for the parties but instead facilitates communication and negotiation to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable solution. The mediator will encourage the parties to express their views, identify their underlying interests, and work towards a resolution.

The Benefits of Mediation

Mediation offers many benefits over traditional litigation, including lower cost, quicker resolution, and improved communication between parties. In addition, mediation is often more effective in resolving conflicts related to family law, such as custody and parenting disputes. The process of mediation can also help parties avoid the financial and emotional toll of a long and drawn-out court battle.

The Mediation Process

The mediation process typically involves a series of meetings between the parties and the mediator. During these meetings, the mediator will use various communication and negotiation strategies to help the parties reach a resolution. The mediator will also provide information and guidance to the parties to help them understand the legal aspects of their dispute and make informed decisions.

Agreement and Follow-Up

If the parties are able to reach an agreement, the mediator will help them draft a written agreement that outlines the terms of their resolution. This agreement can be used as the basis for a divorce or custody settlement, or it can be incorporated into a court order. The mediator may follow up with the parties after the mediation meeting to ensure that the agreement is being implemented as planned and to provide additional support if necessary.

The Role of the Attorney

While the parties do not necessarily need an attorney to participate in mediation, having a legal professional to provide guidance and advice can be valuable. An attorney can help the client understand the legal implications of their dispute and provide information and guidance on the best course of action. A skilled family law attorney can also help the client prepare for the mediation process and provide advice on negotiation strategies.

Facts and Statistics About Mediation in New York Family and Divorce Courts

According to a recent study by the American Bar Association, approximately 80% of divorce cases that go through mediation result in a resolution, compared to only 50% of cases that go to trial. This suggests that mediation is an effective method for resolving divorce disputes in New York Family and Divorce Courts.

Another study, conducted by the New York State Office of Court Administration, found that divorce cases that went through mediation took an average of 6 months to resolve, compared to 14 months for cases that went to trial. This demonstrates the quicker resolution time that is often achieved through mediation, which can help parties save time and money in the long run.

Additionally, a survey conducted by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals found that 96% of participants reported satisfaction with the mediation process in their family law case. This highlights the high level of satisfaction that parties often experience through mediation, compared to the often stressful and drawn-out process of traditional litigation.

Mediation In NYC Family Courts

As of the date of this post, Family Courts in New York City do not allow mediation of order of protection cases or of custody and visitation cases which involve allegations of domestic violence. The mediation program that is used holds sessions in the Family Court courthouses, and is free. Some courts do not provide mediation when one or more of the parties require interpreters. Mediation is completely voluntary, so all parties must agree to mediate.

Mediators have the power to reject cases and have done so where they were too complex or where it is obvious that a settlement is extremely unlikely. Attorneys are allowed to attend and participate, including attorneys for the child or children.

In addition to custody and visitation cases, from time to time, there have been mediation programs that focus on termination of parental rights cases. However, this is subject to funding issues.


Mediation is a valuable tool for resolving family and divorce disputes in New York. The process of mediation promotes communication, cooperation, and mutual understanding between parties, helping them reach a resolution in a quicker and more cost-effective manner compared to traditional litigation. Mediation can also provide a more positive experience for parties, as it allows them to maintain control over the outcome of their dispute and often results in a more satisfactory resolution.

Overall, mediation is a highly effective and beneficial process for parties involved in family law and divorce disputes in New York. The use of a professional mediator, combined with the assistance of a skilled family law attorney, can help parties reach a mutually acceptable solution, avoiding the time and cost of a lengthy court battle. By considering mediation as a viable option, parties can achieve a resolution that best serves their needs and those of their families.