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Can I use mediation to address Child Custody, Parenting Plan and Child Support?

Authored By: New York State Dispute Resolution Association

Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) throughout New York work with separated parents to make their own plans for how they will raise their children.

CDRCs are funded by the NYS Unified Court System to provide free and low-cost mediation services for families. Mediators help parents and grandparents talk about:

  • who will make future decisions regarding the children (custody)
  • how to share parenting time with each other (parenting plans), and
  • how to handle child support responsibilities.

Clients use these services not only to set up custody and parenting plans, but also to modify these arrangements as their circumstances evolve and their children’s needs change.

Each year CDRCs work with more than 6,500 families involving child custody, parenting plans, and child support. Most commonly referred from Family Court, many parents also walk in to CDRCs to seek out these services on their own.

Mediation has been shown to improve communication between co-parents and support collaborative relationships that positively impact children.

CDRC staff carefully screen these cases, eliminating those that have a presence of domestic violence or other factors that make them inappropriate for mediation.

Courts refer these cases to CDRCs at all stages in the life of a case: from the recommendation of a Court Clerk when parents first file a petition to the request of a Family Court Judge after presiding over multiple court appearances with a family.

Last Review and Update: May 12, 2020