Joel M. Douglas is a professor of public administration and labor relations at Baruch College of the City University of New York. He is a practicing mediator, fact-finder and arbitrator and a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators.
Lynn J. Maier is a practicing attorney specializing in family and matrimonial law and is a partner in the firm of Hoffman Wachtel! Koster Maier and Mandel. She is also a matrimonial mediator.
Perhaps in no other area of law is there such extensive dissatisfaction with the process as matrimonial and family law. New York State, in response to widespread criticism of the workings of matrimonial law, promulgated new rules and procedures for matrimonial matters. These new methods affect both the rights and responsibilities of attorneys and clients and were established as a result of the Milonas Commission (Commission).l
Although the Commission found abuses in the court process and made suggestions to expedite the litigation of matrimonial matters, no specific recommendations for mediation and/ or arbitration including the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) were set forth .2 The absence of ADR recommendations in the Milonas report is somewhat surprising as it comes at a time when, in response to the failure of traditional court systems to implement speedy and cost-effective solutions, there is otherwise a proliferation of ADR programs.3