Most divorces don’t end up in court. For most cases, dispute resolution can be done outside of court, cutting costs for all parties in terms of time, energy, emotional pain and dollars spent.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
For all sorts of civil actions there are settlement opportunities and forms of conflict resolution that are a better fit for the parties involved than struggling for a place on the court’s calendar. In addition to mediation, these forms of ADR include:
- Collaborative law
- Neutral evaluation
- Restorative justice
- Settlement conferencing
- Special master
- Summary jury trial
Suffolk County matrimonial mediation program
Court-annexed mediation is available to qualified, married litigants, those parties who are likely to benefit from this structured form of negotiation. It’s a confidential, free-of-charge process that guides the parties to outcomes they can both accept.
The Court issues an Order of Reference referring the litigants to mediation for every pending matter that might yield to this process. The parties involved are required to attend the first session and to provide all requested preliminary materials.
Thereafter, the process ends when one or both parties want it to end. The mediation will have achieved partial, complete or no agreement, and the mediator will report that fact to the judge accordingly.
Between points A and Z, the mediator strives to foster a safe space within which issues are aired, individual goals are shared, and a plausible meeting ground can be found.
Attorneys don’t advocate for their clients in this forum, but it’s advised they be present as advisors, so that decisions made are well informed.
Finally, if an agreement is achieved and signed, it’s submitted to the Court for review. Such documents are considered admissible for future proceedings.
Founded in 2017, this program offers Suffolk County residents a viable way forward and a detour around the courtroom. Mediation is not a forum for all ills, but it solves many with notable speed and much less impact on resources.