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Resolving disputes creatively

Various divorce mediation options in New York

During a divorce, one of the most preferred ways to finalize all of the different aspects is by a mutually agreeable settlement. A New York couple can approach a mediator to solve the legal issues related to their divorce. However, mediation is not recommended for people who have suffered domestic violence or child abuse.

There are various methods for finding an appropriate divorce mediator. Low income New Yorkers can contact NYLAG's Mediation project for help with their divorce. The collaborative family law center offers free mediation to certain couples living in New York City who qualify under the program. The center of the New York State Unified Court System gives eligible couples a maximum of four 90 minute sessions with the mediators. The number of sessions can be increased to six, if the couple has children.

The couple can also approach the local community dispute resolution center for free mediation of parenting disputes. However, they do not resolve matters related to property and asset division, debt division and other related aspects, but the couple can ask them for a referral to a trained divorce mediator who can resolve such issues on a fee-for-service basis.

If the person's case is already in court, the couple can ask the court staff for a divorce mediation program. Most court-based mediation programs give couples a free initial mediation session. The following sessions are usually conducted by charging a reduced fee for the services.

Mediators can provide creative solutions. Once the divorce issues under mediation are finalized, a Memorandum of Understanding is formed between the couple. This document includes the final terms of the divorce, including the judgment of divorce and the separation agreement.

Source: NYCourts.gov, "Divorce Mediation," accessed on Sep. 9, 2014

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