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Anyone know about divorce mediation as a career?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by icebarre, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. icebarre

    icebarre New Member

    Anyone here have experience with divorce mediation, especially training for it as a career? (I'm wondering what the pros and cons might be of pursuing this-- as a sideline, not as a main job). I already have decades of experience in mental-health counseling.
  2. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    I've been to a dinner party a couple of times with an attorney who is a mediator and who does divorce mediation. Divorce mediation is pushed pretty hard by judicial districts here I gather -- but I think it is primarily through attorneys.
  3. icebarre

    icebarre New Member

    Thanks for your reply...yes, I've been wondering whether this is best just done through attorneys...the price-tag for mediation-training (4-day course) is $1,350.00.
  4. jl

    jl Well-Known Member

    I'm good friends with someone who is involved in family law (primarily litigation) who doesn't believe it works, because of the inherent power imbalances that are created in a family dynamic. Also, the mediation so rarely looks after a child's interests, which the court is supposed to do but arguably doesn't.

    Oddly enough, another of my good friends was in family law, didn't believe in mediation, and is now in child protection law. She's recently completed professional mediation courses in advocacy for the child, and feels it is a wonderful tool nowadays. It allows people to approach a problem from a perspective outside of litigation or direct interaction, which is important. It also allows a lawyer to not work so much as mouthpiece but as facilitator.

    What both people note is that mediation will only work if everyone in the proceeding is fully committed to making it work. Sometimes the clients may not want to (in which case, there's no point) but sometimes it's because of the lawyers and their fear of the technique of mediation that can cause it to cease being effective in a given setting. It's tough, and as a mediator, you would need to be able to build good bridges with a set of family lawyers in order to attract business, or have successful mediations, since the clients will only recommend you from what they experienced.

    In training for divorce mediation as a career, having a family counseling background is very helpful but I feel that having a knowledge of family law proceedings is important. Many trained mediators in BC are licensed lawyers, and to then proceed to family mediation involves being trained in civil court mediation (which isn't as emotionally intensive as family mediation but can have many of the same interests at hand), and then special family handling and mediation classes. I've taken the civil court stuff in law school and found it to be useful in figuring out how to best talk to clients, as I work as a solicitor.

    If you are interested in mediation and alternative dispute resolution (negotiation, mediation, arbitration), a growing field for this is in the business sector. Half the time, litigation for intellectual property, securities matters, or other major corporate transactions is averted because the parties are aware of the costs and potential for serious damages. The sophistication of the parties in a corporate mediation setting can help take you away from the emotional side of a family mediation, which may be a negative in how much less "human" it feels, but a positive because you may not get so emotionally involved (and thus, potentially burnt out).

    I hope that helps you a little. In trying to figure out family mediation requirements for training, I suggest you research what is required - if there is a professional association of mediators in your jurisdiction, and also if there are special restrictions on becoming a family mediator imposed by other professional associations (legal associations, etc).
  5. icebarre

    icebarre New Member

    Thanks for your perspective...

    Yes, although I have the skills to enhance communication, I would likely be way in over my head with regard to the legal aspects. And I agree with you, it definitely matters whether the two parties are open to mediation or whether they would simply be "hostile participants."

    I like the idea of business mediation----it involves the same skills and methods but without the sadness of an ending family relationship.

    Thanks again for your input:)