Certification is required of all mediators participating in the Family Financial Settlement (FFS) Program, whether a mediator is serving pursuant to party-selection or a court appointment.
Certification criteria are set forth in Family Financial Settlement (FFS) Rule 8.
To become certified, an applicant must:
- Meet threshold education and work experience requirements, and
- Meet mediation training, observation, good character requirements.
Threshold education and work experience requirements:
- Attorney applicants for FFS certification must be licensed in NC or elsewhere and have at least five years of legal practice experience.
- Non-attorney applicants for FFS certification must have either:
- be an advanced practitioner member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and hold a 4-year degree from an accredited college or university. -OR-
- be an NC licensed member of one of the professions listed in FFS Rule 8.A(2)(b)-(g).
Any applicant who is unsure whether his/her education and experience satisfies the threshold requirements set forth above may contact the Commission’s office about a Provisional Pre-Training Approval.
Training and Observation Requirements:
All applicants must:
- Complete a 40-hour approved FFS training course, except that applicants who are already superior court (MSC) certified,or who have completed all requirements for such certification or who have completed family mediation training in another state may take a 16-hour short court course in lieu of completing the 40-hour course.
- Complete two observations of mediations conducted by either a certified family financial mediator, an NCAOC custody mediator, or an advanced practitioner member of the ACR;
- Demonstrate a basic understanding of NC family law, per the NCDRC Guidelines for Interpreting FFS Rule 8.A, (an applicant may waive out of this requirement or complete an approved 12-hour NCBA course on the basics of family law);
- Demonstrate good moral character;
- Agree to mediate cases involving indigent parties at no charge;
- Submit an approved application to the Commission; and
- Pay prorated certification fee and additional processing fee
In addition, all Attorney Applicants not licensed in NC must:
- Complete an independent study of NC court structure, legal terminology, and civil procedure, and
- Provide three letters of reference at least one of which is from an individual with knowledge of the applicant’s practice as an attorney.
In addition, all Non-attorney applications must:
- Complete a 6-hour course on NC court organization, legal terminology and civil court procedure,
- Complete three additional observations, and
- Provide three letters of reference, including at least one letter from a person with knowledge of the applicant’s work experience.
The Commission has adopted a number of policies intended to clarify FFS certification requirements.
The Dispute Resolution Commission certifies mediation training programs.
Fee to be assessed for mediator certifications and renewal of certifications.