How to Become a Court-Approved Mediator in Kentucky 

To qualify for the Roster of Court-Approved Mediators in Kentucky, an applicant must obtain 40 hours of mediation training and 15 hours of hands-on experience. A mediator can be listed as a general civil and/or family mediator. See Administrative Procedures of the Supreme Court of Kentucky, Order 2005-2 for Mediation Guidelines for more information.

After obtaining the required training and experience, an applicant must complete the Application to be Placed on the Mediation Roster and mail it to the Office of Mediation, Administrative Office of the Courts, 1001 Vandalay Drive, Frankfort, Ky. 40601 or email it to mediation@kycourts.net.

General Civil Mediation

A Roster mediator who provides general civil mediation services must have the following minimum training and experience:

  • Forty hours of training with an approved mediation training program covering communication skills; conflict resolution theory and practice; mediation theory, practice and techniques; and the court process.
  • Fifteen hours of participation in actual disputes, representing at least three cases, where the mediator is a participating mediator under the guidance of a mediator qualified under the Mediation Guidelines or a mediation training center.

Family Mediation

A Roster mediator who provides family mediation services must have the following minimum training and experience:

  • Forty hours of training with an approved mediation training provider covering conflict resolution, the mediation process, communication skills, the psychological aspects of divorce on families, domestic violence, substance abuse, financial and property issues, paternity, family law, and Family Court or Circuit Court procedures. Family mediators are strongly encouraged to take general mediation training prior to this training.
  • Fifteen hours of mediation experience with parties in actual family disputes, representing at least three cases, where the mediator is a participating mediator under the guidance of a family mediator qualified under the Mediation Guidelines or a mediation training center.

Training Curriculum

General civil mediation training includes the following topics:

  • Overview of alternative dispute resolution processes
  • Principles of mediation
  • Stages and goals of mediation process
  • Role of mediator
  • Nature of conflict/behaviors in conflict
  • Mediation skills, including negotiation skills, interactive listening, question-asking, use of neutral language, reframing, interest identification, addressing barriers to agreement, agreement writing
  • Values and bias awareness
  • Cultural diversity
  • Power imbalance
  • Working with attorneys and representatives of parties
  • Ethical issues, including confidentiality, impartiality, informed consent, conflict of interest, fees, responsibilities to third parties, advertising and soliciting, withdrawal by mediator

Family mediation training includes the topics listed above plus those pertaining specifically to family cases:

  • Custody
  • Financial support for child and/or spouse
  • Division of property and debt
  • Tax considerations
  • Emotional and cognitive stages of child development
  • Psychological/emotional effects of divorce on children and adults
  • Understanding the cycle and presence of domestic violence

How to Obtain Mediation Training

Mediation training is an investment in professional development and requires a commitment of time and money. Costs can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on whether an individual chooses an all-volunteer community mediation program or training provided by a public or private organization. In Kentucky, mediation training is available through private training organizations and community mediation programs.

Research training programs carefully to determine the quality of the program. Find out what you can about the type of mediation work the trainers do, the kinds of cases they mediate, how long they been mediating and how many individuals they have trained. It is helpful to know how long the organization has been providing training services.

It is also important to consider the design of the training program. Mediation training typically uses a range of teaching methods, including lecture, large- and small-group discussion, interactive exercise and coached role-playing. Trainings should provide at least three opportunities for a participant to play a mediator in coached role-playing under the supervision of an experienced mediator, who will provide feedback to facilitate learning. Ask about the ethical guidance students will receive, the student-to-teacher ratio, how much time is spent on the various teaching methods and what kinds of training materials will be provided.

In addition to training, a Roster mediator must have 15 hours of participation in actual disputes. This ensures that the newly trained mediator receives valuable feedback from more experienced mediators and further develops the skills and techniques learned in training. Mediation trainers can often provide direction on where newly trained mediators can find opportunities to take part in hands-on mediation.