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New York StateUnified Court System

Custody/Visitation Mediation Program


What is mediation?

When you come to court about custody or visitation with your child, you may ask to have your case sent to mediation.

Mediation is a free, voluntary, and confidential process where you and the other parent work with a neutral mediator to create your own parenting plan.



What Does the Mediator Do?

  • The mediator will help you communicate with each other to try to resolve the issues that brought you to court.
  • The mediator will not make orders or give advice. It will be your choice whether to come to an agreement or to return to court.
  • Parents decide what their parenting plan should be. If the judge or referee approves, the plan will become a court order.



How Can I Get My Case Sent to Mediation?

  • Ask the judge or referee for a referral to the mediation program. Sometimes the judge or referee may suggest the referral. If the judge or referees agrees, a mediation session will be scheduled.
  • You will each have a private meeting with the mediator to determine whether your case is appropriate for mediation. If it is, and you both wish to continue, the mediation will begin.
  • You may have an attorney come with you to mediation, consult with you at any time, or review an agreement before you sign it. Any additional sessions will be scheduled as needed and convenient.
  • If you and the other parent reach an agreement, it will be sent back to court on the date your case was scheduled. If the judge or referee approves your parenting plan, it will become a court order.
    Anything else that is discussed in mediation remains confidential*.
  • If you do not reach an agreement, or if you wish to stop the mediation at any time, you may continue with your case in court without any prejudice.

* Allegations of child abuse or threats are not confidential.



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How Can I Learn More About Mediation?


For more information on Family Court Mediation, contact Catherine Friedman, Esq., NYC Family Court Citywide ADR Coordinator at cfriedma@courts.state.ny.us.


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