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Resolving disputes creatively

What are the alternative dispute resolution methods for divorce?

Divorce mediation is considered as one of the more popular alternate dispute resolution options used by New York couples who want to end their marriages. Since a divorce can introduce unnecessary and avoidable stress and public attention to what can be considered a private matter, a divorce settled with mediation can reduce the inherent and costly problems of a litigated divorce proceeding.

A divorce mediation moves forward under the supervision of a neutral third party, a mediator, who works toward helping both parties communicate to understand what each partner wants thereby facilitating a settlement mutually beneficial to each partner and the family as a whole. During the process, the mediator acts as a neutral agent and does not advance the process based on which party is right or wrong. He or she allows both partners to make their own choices while enabling them to focus on the issues at hand and on an amicable resolution.

The process of divorce mediation reduces the stress and anxiety which very often results a needless court battle. Mediation also helps couples find a less expensive solution as a substitute for the usually expensive litigation process. Moreover, a mediation process can also be used to resolve matters of child custody and other parental disputes, in cases where the couple has children. Nonetheless, divorce mediation may not be the solution to cases involving domestic violence, untraceable spouses or child abuse.

In New York, separating couples can avail a limited number of free or low cost mediation sessions to resolve disputes. Such programs can be accessed through referrals by court staff or through local community dispute resolution centers.

Source: NYCourts.gov, "Court-Connected ADR Programs," accessed on Oct. 10, 2014

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