Brooklyn Lawyers Adjusting to Matrimonial Mediation Program
Friday, January, 18, 2019
Brooklyn is now offering presumptive matrimonial mediation. The borough is one of three locations that will offer the pilot program. The program will provide divorcing couples with the ability to end their marriage with mediation instead of litigation.
The training for the program took place at the Brooklyn Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education seminar. The training was scheduled to last about 50 minutes, but ultimately took 75 minutes. More than 60 lawyers from the area attended the program.
According to one Justice in attendance, ““Presumptive mediation is based upon the concept that all cases in both my part and Judge Rachel Adams’ part will be presumed eligible for mediation unless a party opts out or is screened out. They can be screened out because of domestic violence allegations or possible power imbalances.”
The training highlighted what marital mediation would entail. There will be a single mandated 90 minute mediation session that costs nothing. It will be overseen by a private mediator from the panel of volunteers, through a community dispute resolution program, or a program run by Brooklyn Legal Services.
The first session is the only one that will be mandated. The goal is to give the divorcing couples a chance to see if it is possible to resolve the end of their marriage out of a courtroom. It gives them more control over what their new relationship will look like and allows them to avoid a great deal of the animosity that grows out of a litigated divorce. Only the first attempt at mediation will be mandatory, but couples are allowed to continue mediation if they choose after the first session.