What Exactly Do You Learn in Family Mediation Training?

Posted by Herzing Blog on Oct 19, 2021 1:06:56 PM

Family mediation training focuses on giving students the tools to help families settle disputes without going through litigation.

Students gain an understanding of family law, relationship dynamics, and the role of a mediator.

They also learn practical techniques for facilitating discussions and guiding the parties toward a resolution that everyone can live with.

Family mediation training can prepare you to deal with disputes arising from separation, divorce, parenting, elder care, family business succession, and more.

So what specific knowledge and skills will you develop in family mediation training? What are the key takeaways?

Here’s a breakdown of the main areas covered in class.



Before any mediation can begin, the mediator must determine if all parties are appropriate candidates.

Mediation may not be a workable option if one of the parties is so afraid of the other that they don’t feel safe voicing their concerns, for example.

A family mediation course will teach you how to screen for abuse, violence, and power imbalances.

You’ll learn techniques for determining whether the parties are able to negotiate freely and voluntarily, and whether mediation should go ahead.

The key is being able to figure out whether each side can make their views known, as accredited family mediator Mary Joseph points out.

“Power imbalances are found everywhere in our society. No two people possess the exact same knowledge, skills, experience, or talents.

This becomes a problem if the imbalance inhibits one party from advocating effectively for themselves. That’s what family mediation training teaches you to discern.”



When family relationships break down, the impacts can be intense and wide-ranging. That’s especially true when children are involved.

Emotions often run high. To be effective, mediators need a good understanding of how family members relate to and affect one another.

In family mediation training, you’ll study family systems theory and see how different family roles come into play in the mediation process.

You’ll learn about the emotional, social, physical, and cognitive effects that family breakups have on both children and adults.

You’ll also learn problem-solving strategies that can help facilitate communication and keep discussions moving forward.



While it’s not up to mediators to interpret the law or give legal advice, they do need to understand the legal issues involved.

Family mediation training will teach you the rules that apply in areas such as property division, child custody, and spousal and child support.

You’ll delve into legislation like:

☑️ Marriage Act—Defines what constitutes a legal marriage in Ontario

☑️ Child, Youth, and Family Services Act—Lays out regulations for programs and services related to child welfare, adoption, youth justice, residential care, and more

☑️ Children’s Law Reform Act—Applies to parenting arrangements and support after separation

☑️ Family Law Act—Governs property division and spousal support

☑️ Succession Law Reform Act—Specifies how a person’s estate will be divided up if he or she dies without a will



Family mediation training will also introduce you to the ethical principles that mediators are expected to follow.

For instance, the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM) has a code of conduct that governs its members.

Anyone seeking to earn the OAFM’s Accredited Family Mediator (AccFM) designation must agree to abide by the code, which covers issues like confidentiality, impartiality, and inclusivity.

Your training will teach you about the professional ethics and standards of practice that apply to family mediators.



A key part of family mediation training involves learning how to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

An MOU (sometimes known as a Mediation Report) outlines what the parties have agreed to during mediation.

An MOU itself is not legally binding, but it forms the basis of a Separation Agreement, which is enforceable.

You’ll explore the different components of an MOU and learn what goes into creating an effective document.



Family mediation training is not just theory. You’ll get plenty of opportunities to put your skills into action during simulated mediations.

Mediation course instructor Hayley MacPhail says students often find the role-playing exercises challenging but rewarding.

“Students really get into the mediation role-plays. They’re surprised by how real it feels, how much they’re able to apply and strengthen their skills—and how good they feel about what they bring to the table.

Part of mediation training is learning how to put yourself in your client’s shoes. You have to build those strengths and competencies.

Role-playing is a big part of that learning process, and can be quite powerful.”



Have a look at the Family Mediation Certificate offered by Kompass Professional Development.

The program is accredited by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation and meets the educational requirements for the Accredited Family Mediator (AccFM) designation.

The certificate takes only 12 weeks to complete. Training is delivered online and includes simulations and role-playing exercises.

Click below to get complete details on the certificate and chat live with an Admissions Advisor.

Explore the Family Mediation Certificate from Kompass

Topics: mediation

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