What is Community Mediation?
Community mediation is a service arranged by New York Center for Interpersonal Development. Our center has support from the state and city governments to provide this general community mediation service to the community.
Trained mediators are available to help parties who are involved in a dispute to discuss their problems and to help them reach an agreement of their own making. Mediation is voluntary, confidentiall and the mediator remains neutral, not taking sides and not providing legal advice to either party to do anything or impose any solution onto the parties.
Mediation sessions, if all parties agree to them, usually take place at our office, which is located by the St. George Ferry terminal in Staten Island. It is generally expected that mediation sessions will last about 2 hours each.
Is my dispute suitable for mediation?
Most disputes are suitable for mediation. Our center offers assistance in resolving disputes in the community between neighbors, friends and between those who do business together.
Examples of disputes that may be suitable are:
- small financial disputes;
- neighbor disputes over property lines, parking infringements and noise issues;
- disputes between landlords and tenants over tenancy agreements and deposits;
- other disagreements – for example, over the quality of workmanship and service.
If a community dispute involves any sum(s) of money, then it must be a total amount less than $5,000 in dispute in order to qualify for our general community mediation program. (However, if the total amount in dispute is larger than $5,000, our other programs may be able to assist you and we encourage you to contact us to inquire.)
It is essential that both or all parties to the dispute agree to participate in mediation. Getting to this point may involve case management work on the part of our Center. Case management may include an initial conversation with the party that first contacted us, and subsequent conversations with all parties in order to help them decide if mediation is appropriate and then to schedule a mediation.
Our Center is also available to mediate between larger community groups in conflict.
What is the connection between Community Mediation and the Court system?
Our center's community mediation program is a voluntary alternative to the traditional court process. We provide individuals with the opportunity for a private mediation to resolve a dispute that does not involve them with the court process or having to pay a lawyer.
Lawyers are welcome to attend with the agreement of all parties. In addition, a language interpreter will be made available at no cost if needed.
It will in many cases be possible for the parties to use the court process to settle their dispute if it cannot be resolved using mediation. Also, if the parties do reach an agreement in a community mediation, it will be put in writing in the form of a contract. In the event that the contract is not honored, a party could seek to have a court enforce the contract. (Note that such a contract may contain parts that a court has the ability to enforce and parts that are outside a court's ability to enforce, depending on what the parties have agreed to do.)
How do I apply for assistance?
Our Center will gather information and determine if we would be willing to serve as mediators (assuming that all parties were to agree to try mediation). Applicants may call Halley Anolik, Associate Mediation Manager, to discuss possible mediation, at (718) 947-4037.
What will happen next?
One of our mediation managers will ask an initiating party for their contact details, a short description of their dispute and for the name and address of the other party. Our center will then contact the other party or parties, asking them to confirm that they are willing to participate in mediation. If the other party or parties agree, a time will be established for a meeting at our offices in Staten Island.
Mediators do not decide the outcome of a mediation. Their role is to help the parties reach their own agreement. If an agreement is reached the mediator will draft an agreement for both the parties to sign at the end of the mediation. Once signed, the agreement will be binding.
How much will it cost?
A nominal administrative fee of $20 per party for the mediation will be payable by each party to the dispute. This administrative fee will be payable at the beginning of the mediation session and will be non-refundable, regardless of whether an agreement is reached. Payment should be made in cash or check made payable to "NYCID".
No additional fees will normally be payable. Parties wishing to produce copies of any documents for a mediation will be responsible for their own costs.
Anyone seeking further information about NYCID's general community mediation service can contact Halley Anolik, Associate Mediation Manager, at (718) 947-4037 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org