Mediation

​​​​​Mediation is an informal process in which a neutral third person called a mediator facilitates the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. The process is designed to help disputing parties reach an agreement on all or part of the issues in dispute. Decision-making authority remains with the parties, not the mediator. The mediator assists the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem-solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.​ CR 9.02

Why choose mediation?

  • Promotes a non-adversarial process that may be best for parties who have an on-going or continuing relationship.
  • Parties are in control of the outcome of their case.
  • Provides more options for a win/win solution.

What kinds of cases can be mediated?

The easier question is what should not be mediated. Generally speaking, cases that require a ruling on a question of law, a constitutional interpretation, or some involving domestic violence, are better left to the courts. That means most cases can be settled in mediation. These include but not limited to personal injury, real estate, employment, family and divorce, contract, construction, probate, juvenile offenses, felony offenses, misdemeanor complaints, and medical malpractice.

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.

Family Mediation

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.

Training Curriculum

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:

  • Custody
  • 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.​

There are no trainings scheduled at this time.

​​​Question: What is mediation and how does it work?
Answer: Mediation is an informal process in which a neutral third party called a mediator facilitates the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. The process is designed to help disputing parties reach an agreement on all or part of the issues in dispute. Decision-making authority remains with the parties, not the mediator. The mediator assists the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.

Question: What kinds of disputes are appropriate for mediation?
Answer: Mediation has been used successfully in a wide range of civil (and occasionally criminal) disputes, whether or not a court case has been filed. It works best in cases in which the parties want to work out a solution. It is particularly helpful in disputes that require creative, as well as legal solutions or in which there will be a continuing relationship between the parties.

Question: How much does mediation cost?
Answer: Private mediators generally charge $125 - $200 per hour. Sometimes court staff or volunteer mediators are available to mediate at no cost to the parties.

Question: How long does mediation take?
Answer: It can take one hour to many hours - one session to several. It depends on:

  • The number and complexity of issues
  • Number of parties
  • How much you disagree
  • How open you are to try to work things out
  • Your emotions
  • How well you can communicate

Question: Do I have to be an attorney to be a mediator?
Answer: In Kentucky, a mediator is not required to be an attorney, but if the mediation is court-ordered, the mediator is subject to Civil Rule 99 and Civil Rule 100.

Question: Do I need certain training or certification to mediate in Kentucky?
Answer: You do not need certain training or certification to mediate in Kentucky, but if a mediation is court-ordered, the mediator is subject to Civil Rule 99 and Civil Rule 100.

Question: Can I mediate as a full-time vocation?
Answer: Some mediators are fortunate to mediate full-time. Most, however, practice mediation to supplement their income or as meaningful volunteer work.

Question: Is mediation confidential?
Answer: Confidentiality has been well recognized as a necessary means of encouraging full and frank exchanges within mediation sessions. Kentucky's Civil Rule 99.11​​ provides for mediation sessions to be completely confidential except in situations where a mediator, like any adult, has a statutory duty to report allegations of neglect and/or abuse.

Question: Why should I use mediation?
Answer: People might choose mediation for many reasons:

  • Mediation may be less confrontational than dealing with the issues in open court litigation or in front of a judge
  • Some people appreciate the privacy and confidentiality of mediation and seek a respectful and cooperative environment in which to make important decisions
  • Mediation can save time and money
  • You decide what issues to try to solve in mediation
  • The mediator does not force or make agreements, you do. If there is no resolution, you still have the option of going to court.

Question: How do I find a mediator?
Answer: In many jurisdictions, the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office or the Friend of the Court’s office (where available) may have a directory of local mediators. Mediators may also be found in other local directories or via web searches.​

Felony mediation provides an out-of-court and timely procedure to process felony cases through our judicial system. Mediation allows for a facilitated conversation between the prosecutor and the defendant regarding the defendant's case. The process is voluntary and provides cost-effective justice.

A mediator convenes a one-hour conference with the defendant, his attorney, and the prosecutor on a carefully selected case at the local courthouse. Mediators are retired judges who are also trained and experienced in mediation and Kentucky criminal law.

The mediation session lasts one to two hours in duration depending upon the number of defendant's and the issues involved.

Who benefits from felony mediation, and what are the benefits?

  • Court: docket control
  • Commonwealth Attorney: case management
  • Defendant: speedy access to justice; voluntary; chance to be heard by judge without being judged; fair agreements
  • Public Advocate: Case management
  • Crime Victims: may participate in carefully selected cases; opportunity to confront offender in an informal yet safe environment
  • Taxpayer: may reduce the cost of incarceration
  • Jail: reduces risks associated with overcrowded jails

Case Referral and Scheduling

Referrals are made by the presiding judge, the Commonwealth Attorney, and defense attorneys. However, all referrals are approved by the Judge. A request for assignment of a retired judge to mediate a felony case can be made by completing the request form and returning it to felonymediation@kycourts.net.

​​The following is a compilation of legislation, Supreme Court rules and actions pertaining to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Kentucky:

Kentucky CR 99 and CR 100 - Mediation Rules

Authority for Personnel Cabinet KEMP (Kentucky Employee Mediation Program) - 2001 KRS 18A.110

Duty to Report Dependency, Neglect, Or Abuse - KRS 620.030

Public policy in favor of mediation - 1998 KRS 454.011

Mediation Defined - 1998 KRS 446.010

Domestic Relations and Mediation - 1996 KRS 403.036

Mediation for Special Education - 1996 KRS 200.650-676

Kentucky Natural Resources & Environmental Protection Cabinet Mediation Program Act - 1994 KRS Chapter 417

Reports of Adult Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation - KRS 209.030 and KRS 209A.030

Lemon Law and Arbitration - 1986 KRS 367.841-844

Arbitration of Labor Disputes Rights of Employees - 1986 KRS 336.700

Kentucky Uniform Arbitration Act - 1984 KRS Chapter 417

Settlement Week provides timely and cost-effective justice. During Settlement Week, parties and counsel in selected lawsuits meet at the local courthouse for two-hour private settlement conferences conducted by a volunteer mediator. The volunteers are a member of the local bar association who also have mediation training. Settlement Week not only saves parties time and money, it helps alleviate heavy court dockets, and gives the local bar association a successful vehicle for community involvement.

Settlement Week can be adapted to any jurisdiction that meets the above criteria. Forms, procedures, and training materials are available at AOC.

Mediation Handshake