February 7, 2002
USE OF FAMILY COURT MEDIATION SERVICES BY UNMARRIED COUPLES
By: Susan Price-Livingston, Associate Attorney
You asked about a new Judicial Department program that gives same-sex couples access to family court.
Deborah Fuller, the Judicial Department's legislative liaison, reports that the department has recently implemented a free pretrial mediation program to help unmarried same-sex and heterosexual couples who are ending domestic partnerships and cannot agree on how to divide up their property. Participants must have already filed a Superior Court action over the dispute. Under the program, trained family relations counselors (the same court staff that works to resolve disputes in divorce cases) work with them to resolve these cases without a trial.
Fuller reports that the program is in its early stages. We enclose a copy of the brochure they expect to be distributing soon to let people know about it.