Civil Rule 100 Code of Conduct for Mediators and Competency requirement applies to all mediators conducting mediations in which Kentucky Mediation Rules apply. CR 100.1, CR 100.2
General Civil Mediation
A mediator's most important qualification is the mediator's competence in procedural aspects of facilitating the resolution of disputes rather than the mediator's familiarity with technical knowledge relating to the subject of the dispute. Therefore, a mediator shall obtain necessary skills and substantive training appropriate to the mediator's practice and upgrade those skills on an ongoing basis. CR 100.2
Mediators are encouraged to complete a minimum of forty hours of training with an approved mediation training program covering communication skills; conflict resolution theory and practice; mediation theory, practice and techniques; and the court process.
A mediator who provides family mediation services must have the following minimum training and experience:
- Forty hours of training with an approved mediation training provider covering conflict resolution, the mediation process, communication skills, the psychological aspects of divorce on families, domestic violence, substance abuse, financial and property issues, paternity, family law, and Family Court or Circuit Court procedures. Family mediators are strongly encouraged to take general mediation training prior to this training.
- Fifteen hours of mediation experience with parties in actual family disputes, representing at least three cases, where the mediator is a participating mediator under the guidance of a family mediator or a mediation training center.
General civil mediation training includes the following topics:
- Overview of alternative dispute resolution processes
- Principles of mediation
- Stages and goals of mediation process
- Role of mediator
- Nature of conflict/behaviors in conflict
- Mediation skills, including negotiation skills, interactive listening, question-asking, use of neutral language, reframing, interest identification, addressing barriers to agreement, agreement writing
- Values and bias awareness
- Cultural diversity
- Power imbalance
- Working with attorneys and representatives of parties
Ethical issues, including confidentiality, impartiality, informed consent, conflict of interest, fees, responsibilities to third parties, advertising and soliciting, withdrawal by mediator
Family mediation training includes the topics listed above plus those pertaining specifically to family cases:
- Financial support for child and/or spouse
- Division of property and debt
- Tax considerations
- Emotional and cognitive stages of child development
- Psychological/emotional effects of divorce on children and adults
- Understanding the cycle and presence of domestic violence
How to Obtain Mediation Training
Mediation training is an investment in professional development and requires a commitment of time and money. Costs can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on whether an individual chooses an all-volunteer community mediation program or training provided by a public or private organization. In Kentucky, mediation training is available through private training organizations and community mediation programs.
Research training programs carefully to determine the quality of the program. Find out what you can about the type of mediation work the trainers do, the kinds of cases they mediate, how long they been mediating and how many individuals they have trained. It is helpful to know how long the organization has been providing training services.
It is also important to consider the design of the training program. Mediation training typically uses a range of teaching methods, including lecture, large- and small-group discussion, interactive exercise and coached role-playing. Trainings should provide at least three opportunities for a participant to play a mediator in coached role-playing under the supervision of an experienced mediator, who will provide feedback to facilitate learning. Ask about the ethical guidance students will receive, the student-to-teacher ratio, how much time is spent on the various teaching methods and what kinds of training materials will be provided.