Parenting Act Mediator Information
Criteria for Approval
Criteria for approval as a Parenting Act mediator includes:
- Meeting the training, educational, and apprenticeship standards for Parenting Act mediators as set forth in Section II of the Policy for Approval of Parenting Act mediators;
- Adhering to the Nebraska Standards of Practice and Ethics for Family Mediators;
- Demonstrating and maintaining an active status as a Parenting Act mediator; and
- Disclosing any prior criminal convications or professional licensure suspensions or revocations. A child abuse and criminal background check will be conducted.
Application & List
Parenting Act Application - Apprenticeship Documents
When completing an apprenticeship to become an approved Parenting Act mediator, the documents below must be completed and submitted with an application.
Legislation and Policies for Parenting Act Mediators
Online CME and Biennial Reporting
- All approved Parenting Act mediators will complete 8 hours of continuing education in family mediation (CME).
- At least 2 of the 8 hours will be in the area of domestic intimate partner abuse, child abuse, or unresolved parental conflict, and at least 1 of the 8 hours will be in the area of ethics.
- Required CME hours will be completed every 2 calendar years beginning January 1st of the odd numbered year and ending December 31st of the even numbered year.
- The subject matter of CME may include:
- General mediation skills
- Mediation ethics
- Family mediation issues
- Family law relating to parenting plans
- Domestic intimate partner abuse, child abuse, and unresolved parental conflict
- Child development
- Family systems theory
- Psychological and other issues in parenting
- Other matters relevant to parenting plan mediation
CME Approval Guidlines:
- Approved Parenting Act mediators may receive CME credit for courses provided by ODR-approved mediation centers, the Douglas County Conciliation Services, or other ODR-approved providers.
- If provider is not pre-approved, the mediator shall submit to ODR a description of the course including dates, location, subject matters covered, instructors and their qualifications, and a copy of the program outline or brochure. ODR will advise the mediator in writing whether the course was approved and the number of CME credit hours for which it was approved.
- Approved Parenting Act mediators are encouraged to keep records of the continuing education courses attended in their personal files. They are also encouraged to submit CME courses with ODR as they are completed throughout the year using the online reporting system which can be accessed using the link provided above.
Biennial Reporting Guidelines
- Approved Parenting Act mediators shall submit a biennial report to ODR, indicating completion of required CMEs, Parenting Act mediation activity, and other relevant information.
- Biennial reports shall be submitted every 2 calendar years using the online reporting system provided by ODR (access using link provided above). The deadline for submission occurs December 31st of every even-numbered year.
Parenting Act Mediator FAQs
What is a Parenting Act mediator?
Mediation means a method of non-judicial intervention in which a trained, neutral third-party with no decision-making authority provides a structured process in which individuals and families in conflict work through parenting and other related family issues with the goal of achieving a voluntary, mutually agreeable parenting plan or related resolution. This trained, neutral third-party is a "Parenting Act mediator."
A Parenting Act mediator must meet the qualifications of section 43-2938 and acting in accordance with the Parenting Act.
Mediators involved in proceedings under the Parenting Act shall participate in training approved by the State Court Administrator to recognize child abuse or neglect, domestic intimate partner abuse, and unresolved parental conflict and its potential impact upon children and families.
The State Court Administrator's office, in collaboration with professionals in the fields of domestic abuse services, child and family services, mediation, and law, shall develop and approve curricula for the training as well as develop and approve rules, procedures, and forms for training and screening for child abuse or neglect, domestic intimate partner abuse, and unresolved parental conflict.
How can I become a Parenting Act mediator?
A mediator under the Parenting Act may be a court conciliation program counselor, a court conciliation program mediator, an approved mediation center affiliated mediator, or a mediator in private practice.
To qualify as a Parenting Act mediator, a person shall have basic mediation training and family mediation training, approved by the Office of Dispute Resolution, and shall have served as an apprentice to a mediator as defined in section 25-2903. The training shall include, but not be limited to:
- Knowledge of the court system and procedures used in contested family matters;
- General knowledge of family law, especially regarding custody, parenting time, visitation, and other access, and support, including calculation of child support using the child support guidelines pursuant to section 42-364.16;
- Knowledge of other resources in the state to which parties and children can be referred for assistance;
- General knowledge of child development, the potential effects of dissolution or parental separation upon children, parents, and extended families, and the psychology of families;
- Knowledge of child abuse or neglect and domestic intimate partner abuse and their potential impact upon the safety of family members, including knowledge of provisions for safety, transition plans, domestic intimate partner abuse screening protocols, and mediation safety measures; and
- Knowledge in regard to the potential effects of domestic violence on a child; the nature and extent of domestic intimate partner abuse; the social and family dynamics of domestic intimate partner abuse; techniques for identifying and assisting families affected by domestic intimate partner abuse; interviewing, documentation of, and appropriate recommendations for families affected by domestic intimate partner abuse; and availability of community and legal domestic violence resources.
To qualify as an approved specialized mediator for parents involved in high conflict and situations in which abuse is present, the mediator shall apply to an approved mediation center or court conciliation program for consideration to be listed as an approved specialized mediator. The approved mediation center or court conciliation program shall submit its list of approved specialized mediators to the Office of Dispute Resolution on an annual basis. Minimum requirements to be listed as an approved specialized mediator include:
- Affiliation with a court conciliation program or an approved mediation center;
- Meeting the minimum standards for a Parenting Act mediator under this section;
- Meeting additional relevant standards and qualifications as determined by the State Court Administrator; and
- Satisfactorily completing an additional minimum twenty-four-hour specialized alternative dispute resolution domestic mediation training course developed by entities providing domestic abuse services and mediation services for children and families and approved by the State Court Administrator. This course shall include advanced education in regard to the potential effects of domestic violence on the child; the nature and extent of domestic intimate partner abuse; the social and family dynamics of domestic intimate partner abuse; techniques for identifying and assisting families affected by domestic intimate partner abuse; and appropriate and safe mediation strategies to assist parties in developing a parenting plan, provisions for safety, and a transition plan, as necessary and relevant.
What happens if I do not complete the Parenting Act mediator approval application?
Parenting Act mediators must complete the Parenting Act mediator approval application in order to receive case referrals from the court. ODR accepts applications on an on-going basis and thus will review them as they come in. ODR will take up to 30 days to review a completed application, but once approved a mediator's name and information will be added to the List of Approved Parenting Act Mediators on our website.
What information about Parenting Act mediators will be made available to the public?
The following information about each approved Parenting Act mediator will be available to those who would reasonably have need of it:
County of Practice
City or Town
Judicial Court District
I am an out-of-state mediator but would like to apply for approval as a Nebraska Parenting Act mediator; what do I need to know?
We welcome ALL mediators to apply for approval as Nebraska Parenting Act mediators! Of course, every state has different legislation and policies for mediators and Nebraska is no different. The Nebraska Parenting Act is the best place to start to learn about family mediation in Nebraska. In order to learn of the specific requirements to meet before gaining approval from the State Court Administrator's Office, read the Policy for Approval of Parenting Act Mediators. This policy details the type of training and mediation history that is expected of Parenting Act mediators if they are to gain approval. Also, if you have taken mediation training from another organization I would like to know if ODR would approve it, the Policy will also explain the necessary requirements for your training to meet standards of Nebraska equivalency.
I have completed a Basic Mediation Training and/or Family Mediation Training that is not pre-approved by ODR; will it count towards Parenting Act mediator training requirements?
ODR may determine that mediators who have not taken an ODR-approved training have received the equivalent of the ODR approved training. Such mediators shall submit to ODR information adequate for ODR to determine whether the training received is in substantial conformity with approved training. This information includes but is not limited to trainers' biographies, training agenda or syllabus, and certificate of completion. ODR may require the mediator to take parts of an ODR-approved training or make other accommodations if that aspect of the training was not part of the training that the mediator had taken. (Policy of Approval of Parenting Act Mediators, Section II, Part IA)
Basic and Family Mediation Trainings and CME Opportunities
For information about how to register for Basic or Family Mediation Training, visit the Nebraska Mediation Association webpage.
For information about continuing mediator education opportunities, you can read about the benefits of Joining the Nebraska Mediation Association, contact a local mediation center, or check the Judicial Branch calendar.