THE MASSACHUSETTS COUNCIL ON FAMILY MEDIATION STANDARD OF PRACTICE
The MCFM publishes the following standards of practice which are adhered to by Mediator Patrick Morris:
1. IMPLICATIONS OF MEDIATION:
a. The mediator shall explain the differences between mediation and other options: litigation, arbitration, negotiation, or therapy.
b. The mediator shall obtain sufficient information from the parties so that issues can be identified.
c. The mediator shall discuss, at the onset, the probable cost of the mediation and answer all questions regarding fees.
d. The mediator must explain to the parties that the process is confidential and not subject to disclosure by the mediator in any legal proceeding.
a. The parties and the mediator retain the right to withdraw from the mediation process.
b. Prior to the mediation the mediator shall make clear the conditions under which he/she will terminate their involvement with the mediation.
c. The mediator shall ensure that neither party uses the mediation to gain an advantage over the other party.
d. The mediator shall, upon request, return to either party any documents which have been submitted as part fof the mediation process.
a. There is no right or wrong; there is no guilt or innocence; there is no fault or blame.
b. The mediator will make every effort to ensure that there is full financial disclosure by both parties, to the extent that both parties are satisfied that full disclosure has been made.
c. The mediator shall ensure that both parties have a sufficient understanding of all relevant law to make an informed decision.
4. SELF-DETERMINED AGREEMENT
a. The mediator has a responsibility to help the parties reach an informed agreement.
b. The mediator shall ensure that both parties have an equal chance to express their needs and interest, and to acquire the information and advice needed to reach an informed agreement.
c. If one party lacks the ability to acquire and understand the information necessary to reach an informed agreement, the mediator should consider terminating the mediation.
d. If one party is so emotionally distraught or mentally impaired that they are unable to reach an informed agreement, the mediator shall consider terminating the agreement.
a. The mediator shall ensure that the process maximizes the possibility of reaching an informed agreement.
b. If the mediator believes that either party is unable or unwilling to participate in the process, such that a reasonable agreement appears unlikely, the mediator shall terminate the mediation.
c. The mediator has an obligation to disassociate himself from an agreement which he believes to be immoral, illegal, or patently unfair to either party. In such a case the mediator may terminate the mediation or suggest a possibility to remedy the problem.
6. IMPARTIALITY OF MEDIATOR
a. The mediator shall remain free from favoritism or bias towards either party.
b. The mediator may help either party understand the implications of a proposed agreement on the children of the parties, and provide relevant information even if such information shall appear to favor one party or the other.
c. If the mediator has any conflicts of interest, the mediator shall inform the parties of said conflict, and may terminate the mediation if the conflict of interest presents bias towards either party.
d. If the mediator for any reason cannot remain impartial, he shall immediately terminate the mediation and refer the parties to another mediator.
7. FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS- after the mediation has ended
a. The mediator shall never represent either party to the mediation in any action against the other party.
b. The mediator shall not solicit business from either party to the mediation; this does not include distribution of informational materials regarding the services offered.
c. Upon request by either party, the mediator may represent that parties interests provided that the mediator notifies the other party of his loss of impartiality, and both parties knowingly consent, or at least 2 years have elapsed since the end of the mediation.
d. Upon request by both parties the mediator, in some other role, may represent both parties provided the mediator disclosed the loss of his impartiality for future mediations.
a. The mediator shall have training in the field of mediation, negotiation, family law, family dynamics, etc.
b. The mediator shall, upon request, provide prospective clients with a summary of his training such that the prospective client can choose a mediator who best suits their requirement.