What Should You Know About Selecting an Impartial Dispute Resolution Facilitator (Mediator)?

Couple With Third Party Mediator

Impartial Third Parties (Mediators) in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Courts may refer a pending case to what is called Alternative Dispute Resolution. A neutral and specially trained facilitator (also called a Mediator) will be appointed by the Court to assist the parties in trying to resolve their case without a trial.

To be appointed in this role, the Mediator must meet some qualifications before the court may appoint them. In addition to the Court-appointing a Mediator, the parties involved in the dispute can agree upon who is selected as their Mediator.

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What Is Considered an Impartial Party?

An impartial party, or a mediator, is someone that is not involved in the dispute in any way. They are appointed to help resolve the dispute in an impartial way.

What Are the Qualifications for Impartial Third-Party Mediators?

  • A person must have completed at least 40 training hours in dispute resolution techniques to qualify for an appointment
  • A Person must also complete 24 hours of training in family dynamics, child development, and family law
  • A court may appoint someone without the training hours if that person has legal training or experience in dispute resolution

What Are the Standards & Duties of Impartial Third Parties?

  • A person appointed to facilitate an alternative dispute resolution procedure shall encourage and assist the parties in reaching a settlement of their dispute, but may not compel or coerce the parties to enter into a settlement agreement.
  • Unless expressly authorized by the disclosing party, the impartial third party may not disclose to either party information given in confidence by the other and shall at all times maintain confidentiality with respect to communications relating to the subject matter of the dispute.
  • All matters are confidential, including the conduct and demeanor of the parties and their counsel during the settlement process. Matters should never be disclosed to anyone including the appointing court.
  • Each participant and the impartial third party has a duty to report child abuse or elder abuse. This should not be kept confidential if there is a reasonable belief that abuse has occurred.

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