Marriage Mediation Program Coming to Brooklyn
Family legal disputes are one of the most common types of issues to clog up the court system, and now a Kings County Judge is hoping to see more marriage disputes be solved through mediation, outside of the usual courtroom venue. Judge Jeffrey Sunshine has developed a pilot mediation program to encourage people to use the alternative means of resolving their disputes.
According to Sunshine, “My thought is that mediation should be an additional tool in our toolbox. You have to be careful because, like domestic violence cases show, now all cases are appropriate for mediation. However, not every case needs to go to out. This gives people the opportunity to sit down to try to talk and resolve their case outside of the courtroom. It has a different way to resolve cases that people should be open to”.
As popular as mediation has become in general, it was still not frequently used in New York State to resolve matrimonial issues. The goal is to launch this program in Kings County, as well as programs in Erie and Suffolk counties. If these programs go well, the program will hopefully launch throughout the state.
Sunshine is enthusiastic about the program. He is moderated a continuing legal education seminar that teaches mediation skills for mediators working with family law and matrimonial issues. In the seminar, attorneys and mediators spent two hours learning about mediation’s benefits and the role counsel should play when clients choose to try mediation.
The better the legal system understands mediation – how it works and how it can help – the more likely lawyers are to direct clients to give it a try.