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Community Dispute Resolution Centers: Frequently Asked Questions


What services are available?

Who are the neutrals?

How does community dispute resolution work?

What types of disputes are handled at Community Dispute Resolution Centers?

Why should I contact a Community Dispute Resolution Center?

What Services Are Available?

Community Dispute Resolution Centers provide a variety of services, including mediation, conciliation, group facilitation and arbitration. In addition to providing dispute resolution services, many centers provide educational services in their communities, such as working in schools to teach nonviolent conflict resolution skills to students, staff and parents.

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Who Are the Neutrals?

Community Dispute Resolution Center mediators and arbitrators come from a variety of backgrounds and are recruited by the centers from their local communities. All mediators complete at least 30 hours of basic mediation training, fulfill a supervised apprenticeship, and participate in continuing education. Mediators who work in specialized areas such as child custody/visitation and parent/child mediation complete at least 12 additional hours of specialized training.

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How Does Community Dispute Resolution Work?

When you contact the center, staff will ask you for some general information about the nature of your conflict and explain the processes that are available to help you. If the case is appropriate for dispute resolution services, staff will contact the other party and try to schedule an appointment at a time convenient to both of you. Sometimes staff can help you resolve the dispute without the need for an in-person meeting.

In mediation, the mediator will explain the process in greater depth and offer each of you uninterrupted time to discuss how the conflict has affected each of you. With the assistance of the mediator, both parties will identify issues, discuss options, and explore potential solutions. At the request of both parties, a mediator can help you write an agreement that incorporates any agreed-upon solutions.

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What Types of Disputes Are Handled at Community Dispute Resolution Centers?

Every year, over 90,000 New Yorkers utilize the CDRCs to resolve wide range of civil, criminal and family disputes involving:

  • Landlords and Tenants
  • Neighbors
  • Parents and Children
  • Families and Schools
  • Consumers and Merchants

Centers also help resolve child custody and visitation, public policy, and employment disputes. Centers may also assist in dialogue between victims of crime and offenders.

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Why Should I Contact a Community Dispute Resolution Center?

  1. Dispute resolution services provided by a CDRC are confidential, pursuant to New York State law (22 NYCRR 116 & Article 21-A).

  2. Services are provided at little or no cost.

  3. Parties have more control over the process and the results than in litigation. A mediator cannot impose a solution on the parties.

  4. Processes like mediation can preserve and strengthen important relationships.

  5. Agreements are tailored to the individual needs and interests of the parties.

  6. Parties may agree to solutions that they cannot otherwise obtain in court.

  7. In 75% of the cases that are mediated, parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

  8. According to a recent statewide survey, 90% of people who mediated their case felt that mediation was a good way to address the dispute even when they did not reach agreement on all of the issues.

  9. Agreements can be put into writing at the parties' request.

  10. CDRCs can access interpreters, who are available at no cost to the parties.

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