ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The highly trained and experienced staff and volunteers at Empowered Pathways offer a variety of dispute resolution services.
Mediation allows people an opportunity to speak and be heard, while a neutral manages the conversation. It helps improve communication, improve relationships, and solve problems. Our professional mediators are trained and certified in accordance with standards set by the New York State Unified Court System, and their services offer real and lasting solutions. These services are free or low-cost.
Family Mediation is designed for people with a permanent relationship. It can address issues like parenting, custody, child support, divorce, elder care, and parent-teen conflict.
Community Mediation is available to a broad spectrum of people and organizations, including workplaces, small claims court, schools, neighbors, landlords, tenants, and businesses.
Arbitration Services are available through an arbitrator, a neutral empowered to decide a dispute brought to them by parties. Their decisions can be final and legally binding, while being much faster and more informal than a court process. Arbitrators are available to municipalities and individuals for cases involving small claims, Lemon Law, and matters of criminal restitution.
Intended to allow parents to build a self-determined plan for custody and/or visitation rights for their child(ren). For parents struggling with issues around custody and visitation rights.
Rather than fighting each other in open court, parents (and other family members) can sit down together and describe exactly what it is that they need to make an arrangement work, including issues of Custody and Visitation. This creates agreements that work better, last longer, and have much less of a negative impact on all involved parties.
CCAP – Child Custody Advocacy Program
Our Child Custody Advocate receives referral of complex child custody cases from the Family Court.
Our Advocate visits the homes of all parties involved in the custody dispute, interviews parents, grandparents, and other interested parties, including children who are age-appropriate.
The home is evaluated for health and safety issues, as well as appropriateness for children. The Advocate then provides a detailed report for the court. CCAP helps Family Court Judges make decisions that are in the best interest of the children.
Divorce (on a limited basis)
Intended to allow parties involved in a No-Fault Divorce find equitable solutions for distribution of marital property as well as child custody, retirement, pension, and health insurance considerations.
Mediation can help couples wanting to divorce with dignity. Mediators will help parties develop divorce agreements that can then be taken to court and filed along with the paperwork that the courts require for non-contested divorces in New York State. Divorce mediation can replace the long, drawn-out drag of the past involving attorneys and high costs.
SMALL CLAIMS CASES
Intended to allow parties involved in Small Claims proceedings to settle more quickly and with greater say in the process. Mediation can help find a resolution that the parties themselves choose.
These agreements are enforceable by the referring court, happen quickly, and offer a flexibility and satisfaction unique to the mediation process. The process is strictly voluntary, and offers both claimants and respondents an option they might not previously have been aware of.
Focused on allowing parties (individuals, groups or communities) to verbalize the harm done to them and their need for it to be acknowledged by the perpetrator(s) of the harm.
This mediation focuses on active involvement by the victim and the offender, giving them the opportunity to mutually rectify the harm done to the victim in a process that promotes dialogue between them. Traditional justice systems focus on punishment. Restitution changes that emphasis, working to not only make victims whole again, but to highlight accountability for offenders.
Intended to allow parties a quicker, legally-binding solution to the court process. Like a hearing held in the courts, during an arbitration, standards of evidence are applied to all evidence submitted to the parties.
All testimony is given under oath, and the Arbitrator has the power to subpoena witnesses when needed. The Arbitrator will weigh the evidence and testimony submitted and issue a decision within 30 days of the hearing. The decision is binding for cases referred from the local courts under Article 75 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
Intended to help an individual to build resilience and conflict resolution skills.
A trained coach meets with the individual one-on-one and discusses common sources of conflict. The coach and individual work together and develop plans and coping skills for conflicts. This service consists of two sessions, two hours each, that are structured to help individuals understand their conflict from their perspective and the perspective of the other parties in involved in the conflict. At the conclusion of the two sessions, the individual will have a constructive plan to deal with their current conflict and future conflicts.