How To Become A Divorce Mediator
Career Video: Divorce Mediator
Are you an attorney or have you attended law school? Are you knowledgeable about the intricacies of divorce law? Do you want to help couples who are going through a divorce to settle their dispute and come to a satisfactory agreement? Are you able to be compassionate and understanding with people going through a difficult time in their lives, while also using laws and your training to help people move quickly through the mediation process? There are many career opportunities available as divorce mediators for people who fit these skills and interests.
Why Become A Divorce Mediator
We would all like to have a marriage that lasts forever; unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Nearly half of marriages in the United States result in divorce. Many couples will hire divorce attorneys for their expertise and go through a lengthy process in the court room. The other option is to go through mediation: using a divorce mediator, a couple will attempt to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to each person. The mediation process is quicker than taking a divorce to court and is also less expensive.
A divorce mediator helps a couple navigate through all of the aspects of divorce, such as child custody, child visitation, financial matters, and more. A mediator helps a couple navigate difficult aspects of the discussion, ensuring each partner has their individual opinions heard and understood. The mediation process may take several months. At the end of the process, a mediator helps file paperwork and process it with the court.
One of the most important aspects of being a divorce mediator is the role they fill as a counselor. While a mediator can be trained in many parts of their job, it is important to have the character traits necessary to be a mediator. A mediator must be able to balance the discussion during each session, giving each party equal time to speak, and not allow one person to dominate their power over the other. A mediator must also be sensitive to the needs of each person, know what kinds of probing questions to ask to help push a discussion along, or when it is time to take a break from a discussion.
A Divorce Mediator must possess the following qualities and skills:
Divorce Mediator Work Environment
A mediator works in a mediation office, where they see clients during the day who are going through a divorce. A typical day for a mediator involves seeing clients and guiding them through mediation sessions. A mediator will also prepare for meetings with clients and review their individual cases. As a mediator gains more experience, they may choose to open up their own mediation practice. A mediator typically works a 40 hour week.
Divorce Mediator Salary
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual salary for mediators in 2012 was approximately $61,000. While some mediators work full-time, others work part-time and choose to pursue other fields related to law when they are not involved in mediation.
Divorce Mediator Career Outlook
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that divorce mediation will grow 10 percent between 2012 and 2022. This is average with other careers in the United States.
Mediation is part of the legal process, and mediators often work for local or state governments to help process divorces for couples. Working for the government may pose budgetary constraints on divorce mediators and job opportunities may not be as widely available. Additionally, mediation is not always a choice for some couples, and many choose to enter the courtroom to settle their divorce.
Divorce Mediator Degree
A divorce mediator is a professional that requires a special set of education and personality traits in order to be successful in their job.
Step One: Undergraduate Education Receive a bachelor’s degree from an undergraduate program in the United States. There is no specific program you have to major in, but subjects such as counseling, psychology, law, and social work will be a great foundation for a career as a divorce mediator. Take classes in family and marriage counseling, law, and other classes that will prepare you for this field.
Step Two: Mediation Training All people who want to become divorce mediators – or any kind of mediator – must enroll in a certified training program for mediation. This is a short program, often a week long, that teaches people the basics of conflict resolution, ethics, and the laws surrounding divorce law. During the training program students will listen to panel discussions and engage in role playing to practice what a mediation session is like. Mediators receive certification that they underwent training.
Step Three: Practicum Completing a practicum is much like an internship for those who want to become a divorce mediator. After finishing training, an aspiring mediator goes through a practicum at a designated location. During this time, they are allowed to handle mediation cases but are supervised by a more experienced divorce mediator. These mediation sessions are videotaped and students receive direct feedback from a mediator. It takes about six months to complete a practicum.
Step Four: Law School While it is not required to be an attorney in order to be a divorce mediator, many people who are mediators went to law school and then decided to pursue a career as a mediator. A mediator must be knowledgeable about the many aspects of divorce law, including each party’s right to finances, child custody law, visitation, and more. Having a background in law makes a mediator much more educated and helpful in their career – and they will be able to negotiate a higher salary.