Confidentiality and Divorce Mediation

Divorcing couples who are willing to compromise can choose mediation, which allows them to avoid fighting their battles in court. There’s another benefit to mediation, however: even if you have to resort to litigation, mediation is not a matter of public record. If you value privacy, and think your spouse is open to compromise, mediation might be the right tool for you.

When are mediation records made available to third parties?

Generally, a mediator’s notes are kept private unless a judge requests them—and this is usually only permissible in limited situations where the law permits it, such as if a person’s safety is at risk or a child needs to be protected. In the vast majority of divorces, couples can keep their personal details private, since mediation notes are not a matter of public record.

Even if you end up having to litigate your divorce, mediation confidentiality ensures that what happened in mediation cannot be used against you in court. This is true even for screening or intake notes, where the mediator listens to information about your situation and determines whether they can take your case.

What’s public in a litigated divorce?

New York has some of the strictest divorce privacy laws in the nation. While many types of cases are a matter of public record, and can be requested by a third party, divorce cases are better protected. Only the parties and their attorneys can request the records, unless the court orders otherwise.

However, that doesn’t mean your divorce itself won’t be a matter of public record, whether you choose mediation and litigation. Information like the names of the plaintiff and respondent, the county and the case number are not private. Third parties can also obtain a record of the final divorce “certificate of dissolution.”

For more information about mediation and privacy concerns, reach out to the knowledgeable Long Island divorce meditators at Solutions Divorce Mediation today.

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