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 N.C. or elsewhere and have at least five years of legal practice experience.
- Non-Attorney applicants for FFS certification must have either:
- Be a family mediator advanced practitioner member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and hold a 4-year degree from an accredited college or university. -OR-
- Be an N.C. licensed member of one of the professions listed in FFS Rule 8.(a)(2)(b)(1-7).
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 an FFS Provisional Pretraining Packet.
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. Contact DRC staff at DRCMediators@nccourts.org to request information on the observation video;
- As a prerequisite for attending the 40-hour FFS training, applicant must demonstrate a basic understanding of N.C. family law, per the NCDRC Policy on Compliance on Family Financial Settlement Rule 8(a)(1), (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 N.C. must:
- Complete an independent study of N.C. 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 N.C. court organization, legal terminology and civil court procedure, before enrolling in the 40-hour training course,
- 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.