Model Practice Standards for Divorce Mediation
The New York State Council on Divorce Mediation has adopted model practice standards for mediators engaging in a family practice. The model standards aim:
To serve as a guide for the conduct of family mediators;
To inform the mediating participants of what they can expect; and
To promote public confidence in mediation as a process for resolving family disputes.
The 13 model standards listed below provide a solid foundation for the ethical, competent behavior of a divorce mediator, and are standards to which I subscribe:
- A family mediator shall recognize that mediation is based on the principle of self-determination by the participants.
- A family mediator shall be qualified by education and training to undertake the mediation.
- A family mediator shall facilitate the participants’ understanding of what mediation is and assess their capacity to mediate before the participants reach an agreement to mediate.
- A family mediator shall conduct the mediation process in an impartial manner. A family mediator shall disclose all actual and potential grounds of bias and conflicts of interest reasonably known to the mediator. The participants shall be free to retain the mediator by an informed, written waiver of the conflict of interest. However, if a bias or conflict of interest clearly impairs a mediator’s impartiality, the mediator shall withdraw regardless of the express agreement of the participants.
- A family mediator shall fully disclose and explain the basis of any compensation, fees and charges to the participants.
- A family mediator shall structure the mediation process so that the participants make decisions based on sufficient information and knowledge.
- A family mediator shall maintain the confidentiality of all information acquired in the mediation process, unless the mediator is permitted or required to reveal the information by law or agreement of the participants.
- A family mediator shall assist participants in determining how to promote the best interests of children.
- A family mediator shall recognize a family situation involving child abuse or neglect and take appropriate steps to shape the mediation process accordingly.
- A family mediator shall recognize a family situation involving domestic abuse and take appropriate steps to shape the mediation process accordingly.
- A family mediator shall suspend or terminate the mediation process when the mediator reasonably believes that a participant is unable to effectively participate or for other compelling reasons.
- A family mediator shall be truthful in the advertisement and solicitation for mediation.
- A family mediator shall acquire and maintain professional competence in mediation.
Each model standard is elaborated in greater detail at the website of the NYS Council on Divorce Mediation.