When it comes to divorce mediation, what are the standards of practice for the mediators who will guide you through the process? While many mediators have different approaches and different philosophies, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the Association for Conflict Resolution have both adopted 13 standards of practice for mediators that serve as a useful guide both for mediation professionals and for those who are entering the mediation process. Here is a brief summary of the standards, in our own words:
- Family mediators should understand that self-determination – internal motivation and free will – is at the heart of a successful mediation.
- Family mediators should be properly educated and trained in their field.
- Family mediators should properly assess a couple’s ability to mediate and their understanding of mediation before beginning the process.
- Family mediators should be impartial and should disclose any conflict of interest or any bias.
- Family mediators should clearly and openly discuss the fees associated with mediation with the participants.
- Family mediators should ensure that participants make informed decisions by disclosing all pertinent information regarding the decision.
- Family mediators should keep all information learned during the mediation process confidential, unless required to share information under the law.
- Family mediators should keep the best interests of the children involved in mind, and encourage participants to do so as well.
- Family mediators should look for signs of child abuse and neglect and respond to those situations appropriately.
- Family mediators should look for signs of domestic violence and abuse and respond to those situations appropriately.
- Family mediators should stop or suspend the mediation process when they realize that a person is not cooperating or effectively participating.
- Family mediators should not guarantee results or positive outcomes when advertising their services.
- Family mediators should continue their educations and their professional development throughout the years.
Mediation can be a rewarding and economical option for many couples seeking divorce or discussing child custody in Washington State. If you would like to learn more about family mediation or are seeking a Seattle divorce lawyer to guide you through the mediation process, call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today.