A family financial mediator is not required by law to be certified in North Carolina. A non-certified mediator may participate in the Family Financial Settlement Program (FFS Program) provided that the parties select him/her as their mediator. That said, the Commission encourages family financial mediators to complete training and to become certified. Certification is an important credential and says a great deal about a mediator's commitment to the process and practice of mediation. The vast majority of mediators serving the Family Financial Settlement Program are certified by the Commission. If the parties do not select a mediator and the court must appoint one, judges can only appoint a certified mediator. Certification criteria are set forth in FFS Rule 8. Essentially, to be eligible for certification an applicant must either:
1) hold advanced family practitioner status with the Association forConflict Resolution (ACR) (www.acrnet.org) and have earned a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university (FFS Rule 8.A(1)) or
2) be an attorney licensed in any State (FFS Rule 8.A(2)(a)) or be a North Carolina licensed member of one of the other professions listed in FFS Rule 8.A(2)(b)-(g).
In addition to meeting this threshold criteria, applicants for certification must also:
1) complete a 40-hour training on family mediation (or a 16-hour short course if already certified in superior court) (FFS 8.A(2));
2) demonstrate familiarity with NC family law (FFS 8.A and 8.E);
3) if a non-attorney applicant, complete a 6-hour course in NC legal terminology, civil court procedure,etc., or if an attorney licensed outside NC, complete an indepedent study of NC legal terminology, civil court procedure, etc., (FFS 8.B);
4) complete 2 observations of family mediations and if a non-attorney applicant, three additional observations of family or other eligible disputes (FFS 8.D);
5) demonstrate good moral character; (FFS 8.F); and
6) complete an approved application form (FFS 8.G).
To view FFS Rule 8, click on the Option "FFS Certification Requirements Rule 8" from the menu on your left.