8721 Santa Monica Boulevard          Los Angeles, CA 90069           (213) 446-4460  

Observations on Mediation

Mediators maintain high standards of competence. Recognizing the boundaries of their competence and the limitations of their techniques, they only provide services or use techniques for which they are qualified by training and experience, using consultation from other professionals as appropriate. They maintain knowledge of current professional information related to the services they render. Mediators accurately represent their competence, education, training, and experience.   
The role of the mediator is to serve as an impartial third party with responsibility for structuring and monitoring the process of decision making between the parties. Mediators can serve effectively only when all parties to the dispute are confident of the mediator's impartiality. Mediators shall disclose to both parties any ties, association, or potential biases they may have in working with either party. This includes acknowledgment of any prior relationship with either of the parties to the dispute. Mediators have a duty to disclose at the earliest appropriate time to the parties involved all contacts between the mediator(s) and either party or any other relevant third party, including the clients' attorneys. Mediators assume the responsibility for withdrawing from a case if they believe or perceive that there is a clear conflict of interest, or if a bias emerges that interferes with the mediation, regardless of the expressed desires of the parties.

Formal Education / Training
Mediators may hold a bachelor's degree; a master's degree; a J.D. degree; or equivalent training or experience in mental health or related disciplines. Mediators are to be members in good standing in the professional organizations of their disciplines.

Most mediators have undergone at least forty hours of training specifically in mediation, led by qualified mediators and/or by a recognized training organization before representing themselves to the public as mediators. Some may have learned mediation through teaching related courses, providing training, judging mediation competitions, etc. Qualified divorce mediators should have at least a basic awareness of applicable family law and training in the divorce process, conflict management, family systems and therapy, child development, and the effect of divorce upon children. Mediators ideally are able to recognize the impact of culture and diversity on the mediation process

Self-Monitoring, Personal Functioning, and Bias
Mediators recognize that their capacity to mediate successfully depends in part on their ability to maintain effective interpersonal relations. They  refrain from undertaking any mediation in which their personal problems are likely to lead to inadequate professional services or harm to a client.

A mediator should recognize a family situation involving child abuse or neglect and shall take appropriate steps to shape the mediation process accordingly. Terms such as child abuse or neglect are defined by applicable state law. A mediator should not undertake a mediation in which the family situation has been assessed to involve child abuse or neglect without appropriate and adequate training. If the mediator has reasonable grounds to believe that a child of the participants is abused or neglected within the meaning of the jurisdiction's child abuse and neglect laws, the mediator shall comply with applicable child protection laws.

Mediation proceedings and all information obtained from and about the participants through the mediation process are treated as confidential subject to state law. This requirement may only be waived by informed written consent of both parties and the mediator. The mediator shall refrain from knowingly or intentionally releasing information that might possibly impact legal proceedings. Where there is clear and imminent danger to an individual or to society, the obligation of the mediator to maintain confidentiality may not apply.

  Safeguards Against Invasion of Privacy
Personal or evaluative information is discussed only for professional purposes and only with persons clearly concerned with the case.  Written and oral reports present only information germane to the immediate purposes, and every effort is made to avoid undue invasion of privacy.

Public Use of Information
Mediators who present personal information obtained during the course of professional work in writings, lectures, or other public forums need either to obtain adequate prior written informed consent or to disguise identifying information of the persons involved.

Limits of Confidentiality
The mediator, in every way possible, seeks to maintain and to protect the confidentiality of mediation..

Mediators provide for maintaining confidentiality in the storage and ultimate disposal of client records.

Family Welfare
Mediators respect the integrity and protect the welfare of the families and individuals with whom they work. They make reasonable efforts to ensure that their services are used appropriately. These efforts include fully informing potential clients of the purpose and nature of the mediation process.

Financial arrangements in professional practice are in accord with professional standards that safeguard the best interests of the client and that are in writing and clearly understood by the client in advance of establishing the relationaship.

Fee Arrangements
The mediator explains the fees for mediation and reaches an agreement with the parties for payment at the orientation session. A mediator does not charge a contingency fee or base the fee in any manner on the outcome of the mediation process. A flat fee for the entire mediation may be charged if agreed at the outset. Hourly rates may be established, either at a set rate or on a sliding scale, taking into account the financial means and abilities of the parties

Additional Professional Consultation
Clients should be advised at the outset of mediation that other relevant professionals, in addition to attorneys, may have to be employed to assist the mediation process in establishing values, weighing tax consequences of alternative arrangements, and dealing with other technical information.

Referral Fee
No commission, rebate, or other form of remuneration may be given or received for referral of clients for professional services, whether by an individual or by an agency.

Pro Bono

Mediators contribute a portion of their services to work for which they receive little or no financial remuneration.

Fairness in the Agreement to Mediate
Mediators have a duty to facilitate informed consent in the signing of the agreement to mediate. Mediators have an obligation to uphold their responsibilities as outlined in the agreement to mediate.

State Agencies

California Department of Mental Health
1600 9th St., Rm. 151
Sacramento, CA 95814
Voice (800) 896-4042 or (916) 654-3890
TTY (800) 896-2512
Fax (916) 654-3198
E-mail: dmh.dmh@dmh.ca.gov

California Courts – Mediation Page

California Domestic Violence Crisis and Support Resources – AARDVARC

California Department of Consumer Affairs – Dispute Resolution Center

ABA Approved Law Schools – The State Bar of California

ADR Professionals - California

ADR Program at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California

ADR Services - The Bar Association of San Francisco

The State Bar of California

2107 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22201-3042
Main: (703) 524-7600
Fax: (703) 524-9094
Member Services: (888) 999-NAMI (6264)


Collaborative Law Programs

Article: California Bar Journal – “Collaborative Law – solving disputes the friendly way”

California Courts – Court Rules
Appendix C: Guidelines for the Operation of Family Law Information Centers and Family Law Facilitator Offices

Child custody mediation in Orange County


Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles – Civil ADR Information

California Area Mediation Associates
8721 Santa Monica Boulevard        Los Angeles, CA 90069        (213) 446-4460           Website designed by ttdesigns