Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Bright Idea... Maybe?

A few years ago a friend of mine got divorced and used a mediator. Then last year a coworker got divorced and went the same route. I briefly looked into how to become a mediator, but dropped it when I realized that one needed a bachelor’s degree to even take the training course. At that point, the degree seemed so far away.

I don’t know what made the idea pop into my head last night, but it did and I reminded myself to look into it after putting the girls to bed… I got so excited about spending time on that exercise bike, I simply forgot (the trash TV I’m discovering didn’t help matters either!) Oh, oh, oh, SHINY OBJECT ALERT… back to the topic at hand.

I drove into work this morning after being surprised it wasn’t a Snow Day for the kids. The idea popped into my head again while I was driving, this time I swore I would look into it when I got to the office.

I found a ton of information. A Family Mediator deals with prenuptial agreements, divorce, custody battles, parenting, probate and family business issues, etc. The process for becoming a Family Mediator is fairly simple: a candidate needs to have a bachelor’s, take 48 hours of training, complete a 20 hour internship, then submit an application to the state to become certified. There’s no mention of a test or anything, so I assume that if you follow those steps, you get certified.

I found a list of upcoming training offered and the only thing listed so far is a class in March. I called the place offering the training and spoke with a very nice, helpful woman who gave me a better description of what it means to be a mediator. It sounds like one goes into private practice and/or registers with various family courts. When a mediator is on the roster of the court, they aren’t necessarily guaranteed any cases, but anyone choosing to work with a mediator pays $300/5 hours. If the mediator works more than five hours on their case, fees work on a sliding scale. Mediators working outside of the court system charge between $150-200/hour.

In many ways, this could be a great career path. I would be done with the training portion by the middle of April and could probably do the internship pretty quickly after that. Every day would be new and interesting and the income potential means that I wouldn’t even have to work full-time if I didn’t want to. Further, the school I attended offers an MBA in Workplace Conflict Management, so I could always continue my education and work with businesses and unions as well.

The downside is that the training is a little pricey and the schedule is weird. I would have to do a lot of juggling work hours and get a sitter for some Wednesday and Friday evenings in March/April. Then there’s the fear of not having a job with a guaranteed paycheck. Being on a court roster is not a guarantee of cases, so I’m not sure what the probability is that I would actually get work on any given day. I did a bit of research and found that there are 53 mediators registered with the courts in this state. I’m pretty sure that not all 53 are signed up with every single family court in the state every single day… but I’m still not clear how competitive it actually is.

Then we get into the business of listening to people fight and whine all day, every day. Do I really want to do that?

Thoughts anyone?

Ice Princess

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