Program Overview:

Advanced Divorce Mediation Training

The Advanced Divorce Mediation program is no longer offered.

Please visit sps.northwestern.edu/mediation to learn more about the Divorce Mediation Training Program and the Mediation Skills Training Program, or consider Negotiation for Professionals.

This intensive, two-and-a-half-day course provides students the opportunity to explore five topics in additional depth, including: an anatomy of a divorce case, writing an MOU, mediation from an interest-based perspective, mediating finance and engaging children in the mediation process. Each section is taught by an expert in the field.

Continuing Education Credits for Attorneys and Counselors

IMHCA Credit

  • The program is co-sponsored by the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association. The IMHCA is licensed by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation to provide CEs for LSWs, LCSWs, LPCs, LCPCs and LMFTs (amount pending approval for June 2013).

MCLE Credit

  • We are seeking general and professional MCLE credits for the June 2013 offering. Check back for an update.
  • You may also be able to earn continuing education credits for other jurisdictions. We will be able to complete any required documents, but you will pay the fees for the credits which may range from free to over $100. You may wish to review the American Bar Association CLE website and find your jurisdiction in advance.

Certificate Requirements

To earn the Advanced Divorce Mediation Training certificate, students must complete an intensive two-and-a-half-day course and attend all modules.

Module Desciptions

Anatomy of a Divorce Case in Illinois: A View from the Judge’s Bench
Honorable Nancy Katz

This session is intended to give participants an in-depth view of the law and litigation process in dissolution of marriage matters. The session will address both the decision points in a dissolution case and the factors that the court weighs in making rulings, as well as the litigation process. The purpose is to sensitize mediators, particularly mediators who are not lawyers, to the experiences that divorcing parties face, and the analytic framework used by the court in rendering decisions. Through a better understanding of the litigation process, mediators will be more prepared to assist the parties in finding creative non-litigation solutions to their disputes.

Judge Katz will cover the following topics: Initiation of a Divorce Case, including initial pleadings and service of pleadings; Discovery, including interrogatories, requests to produce, requests to admit and depositions; Temporary Relief, including child support, maintenance and injunctive relief; Support, including child and spousal; Custody and Visitation, including best interest factors, joint versus sole custody; Allocation of Property; Attorneys’ Fees, including interim orders and contribution to final fees.

Writing the MOU To Impress Clients and Attorneys
Ericka B. Gray, MS

Lawyers judge mediators by the quality of their MOUs. Well written, easy to understand, comprehensive and specific MOUs that clearly capture the clients’ intent and fulfill the needs of the lawyers when they write the final agreement serve to both enhance your reputation and market your services. It’s not enough to have great skills; you must be able to translate those skills into writing. The course will cover best practices in drafting MOUs, common issues encountered when drafting MOUs, including lack of clarity, use of boilerplate, what lawyers want to see in an MOU, what lawyers groan about when they get an MOU from a mediator and what clients need and don’t need in an MOU. Use of language, layout and other issues will also be addressed. Participants are encouraged to submit one problematic MOU clause prior to the class (not an entire MOU) that can be discussed in the class.

Mediation from an Interest-Based Perspective
Anne Chestney Mudd, Esq.

Mediators assist parties in their negotiations. Helping mediation participants change the way they negotiate can make the difference between reaching agreement and reaching impasse. The essence of interest-based negotiations is to seek solutions that meet each party’s needs by focusing not on what either client perceives as his or her desired outcome or end result (their “position”), but rather on all of the underlying needs, desires, values, goals and objectives which together comprise the basis for why they seek that outcome (their “interests”). Assisting the parties in clearly articulating and identifying their respective interests, rather than their positions, hearing the interests of the other and the interests of their children and seeking resolutions which are consistent with those interests is an essential part of the mediator’s skill set. As this almost never comes naturally to clients in conflict, the skill of the professional mediator in providing clients with substantial guidance to reach the point where they are able to identify and communicate their interests is crucial. The transition to interest-based, principled negotiation is often particularly challenging for lawyers. Mediation from an interest-based perspective requires listening for the basic human needs of clients, and then assisting the clients to identify and understand what these needs are, helping the clients to focus on these needs and to communicate these needs more clearly and effectively in order to develop options to meet these needs.

Mediating the Financials in a Divorce
Chrisiana Zouzias CPA

In this intensive look at the financial issues of divorce mediation, we will cover the distribution of the marital estate and how to divide different assets while considering the taxes on each asset. We will also cover the topics of evaluating a business, what is considered high, moderate and low net worth, and the different ways people try to hide money. Determining how much life insurance is needed based on the ages of the children, amount of college, amount of mortgage and other things will be discussed. Other issues covered will be objective criteria needed for mediation (such as appraisals, market analysis, business valuations, retirement funds and pension valuations), how to determine income and how it relates to the tax return. Child support and spousal support will be reviewed with an eye to what is included/excluded in each calculation and the different methodologies used when determining support.

Engaging the Child in the Mediation Process
Margaret S Powers, LCSW, MSW, MA

Children do not have a formal status in divorce proceedings; however they are the ones who are impacted the greatest and have the smallest voice. This program will examine the importance of including the children in the process, techniques to coach the parents in how to support their children’s involvement and ways to provide feedback to the parents regarding the children’s perspective on their needs in the divorce. In addition, techniques will be discussed and demonstrated on methods of interviewing and the steps to take to include the entire family in the discussion of the changing family. A demonstration of an interview of a child as part of the mediation process will cap the program.

Core Courses:

  • DIV_MED 201-0 Divorce Mediation Training