This fully interactive, hands-on workshop will give attorneys the tools needed to be an effective, ethical, certified* mediator in court-connected family cases in South Carolina. 

If you practice in family court or would like to work with families in transition, this training program is for you. Under the S.C. Supreme Court’s Probate Court Mediation program, practitioners may qualify for appointment in probate mediation cases by being certified as either a family court mediator or circuit court mediator.

8 a.m. Registration

8:30 a.m. Introductions

10:15 a.m. Break
Negotiation in Fish Bowl
Court in Fish Bowl, Language, Context
Understanding Conflict, Cognitive and Emotional, Analysis

  • Responses to conflict
  • Choosing cooperation, thoughts and feelings

Mediation Process

  • Stages
  • Skills

Mediation in Fish Bowl, trainer demonstrations

  • Initial meeting (Stage 1)
  • Opening statement (Stage 2)
  • Party opening (Stage 3)
  • Mediator role, learning conversations
  • Context--mediator, parties, attorneys

12:30 p.m. Lunch*
Separation and Divorce, Personal and Business

  • Emotional stages
  • Relationship impacts on negotiation
  • Legal considerations, separate maintenance

Intake and Preparation, Stage 1

  • Screening considerations
  • Information for clients
  • Planning-mediator, parties, attorneys, formulations
  • Caucus, individual meetings

3:15 p.m. Break
Opening Statement, Stage 2

  • Information, road map and guides
  • Credibility and trust
  • Privilege and confidentiality
  • Agreement for Mediation Process

Creating your Opening Statement
Presentation of Opening Remarks (in pairs) and Debrief
Standards and Ethical Issues, an introduction

6  p.m. Adjourn

8:30 a.m. Review

Standards and Ethics
Safety Issues
Parties’ Openings, Stage 3

  • Principled Listening, mining
  • Principled Speaking
  • Active Listening

10:15 a.m. Break
Legal Separation and Divorce Procedure, Appendix D

  • Separation in legal context, grounds for divorce
  • Court hearings, temporary issues and merits
  • Agreements and enforceability

Organizing the Mediation, Stage 4

  • Identifying issues and organizing
  • Setting agenda, parties and mediator
  • Interim agreement, progress notes, homework IV 3
  • Flipchart demonstration

Learning from role play, protocols
Role Play, Who Moves Out

12:30 p.m. Lunch
Children’s Issues-Legal and Practical

  • Custody designations
  • Effects of divorce
  • Demonstration of mission statement
  • Parenting forms
  • Parent education
  • Relationship impacts on process

Focus on Reframing

  • Individual content and emotion
  • Common interests
  • Common questions
  • Legal and practical language

3:15 p.m. Break

3:30 p.m. Role Play, Children
Information Gathering, Stage 5

  • Financial Issues and Forms
  • Working with attorneys

6  p.m. Adjourn

8:30 a.m. Review
Standards and Ethics
Identifying and Clarifying Interests, Stage 6

  • Open ended questions
  • Identifying interests
  • Communication, problem-solving

Generating Options, Stage 7

  • Brainstorming
  • Analyzing options
  • Linkage
  • Considerations—Caucus? Plenary? Attorneys?

10:15 a.m. Break
Legal principles, property and support

  • Marital property and equitable distribution
  • Child and spousal support
  • Retirement, taxes, bankruptcy, attorney fees

Structuring financial negotiations

  • Exploring expectations, needs, resources
  • Agreements in principle
  • Financial forms- assets, liabilities, income, debt

Role Play, Property

12:30 p.m. Lunch
Technology Demonstration

  • Software for alimony and equitable distribution
  • Child support computations, S.C. Guidelines
  • Party participation

3:15 p.m. Break

3:30 p.m. Mediation in a series of sessions

  • Initial and Subsequent sessions
  • Transitions and agenda shifts
  • Other content issues- family, friends, professional help
  • Intervening Events

Focus on attorney role
Role Play, Parents as Partners
Standards and Ethics

6  p.m. Adjourn

8:30 a.m. Review
South Carolina ADR Rules for Court-Annexed Cases

  • Court  Appointments
  • Working with guardians
  • Client challenges

Focus on Caucus, parties and attorneys

  • Occasions and indications
  • Analysis
  • Helping parties make offers

10:15 a.m. Break
Perceptions and Negotiation, parties and attorneys

  • Balancing power
  • High emotions, impasses
  • Personality types
  • Male and female styles
  • Cultural influences

Role Play, Meltdown

12:30 p.m. Lunch
Negotiating to Agreement, Testing Reality

  • Objective standards
  • Durability, what if….
  • Using experts-accountants, appraisers, psychologists
  • Court alternatives- - time, cost, results, impacts

Developing agreements, Stage 8

  • Attorneys and agreements
  • Finalizing the agreements
  • Guidelines for the agreements

3:15 p.m. Break

3:30 p.m. Extended families

  • Bringing parties to the table
  • Authority for decisions
  • Mediator responsibility for children
  • Model Standards II, VIII, IX, XI
  • Questions of child protection, abuse, and neglect
  • Duty to report

Role Play, Generation After Generation
Standards and Ethics

6  p.m. Adjourn

8:30 a.m. Review*
Resources for Clients and Mediators

10:15 a.m. Break
Role Play, Daddy’s Girls
Working with family members and other outside influences

  • Co-mediation and observation
  • Records, files, and court reports

12:30 p.m. Lunch
Case Management

  • Inquiries, interviews, referrals
  • Contracting for Services
  • Scheduling and cancellation, games people play
  • Possible outcomes, drop outs
  • Post- mediation concerns

Building a Mediation Practice

  • Practice Experience
  • Marketing to clients and professionals
  • Monitoring for improvement and business development
  • Modeling and networking
  • Professional organizations

3:30 p.m. Break
Other ADR Processes

  • Arbitration and special judging
  • Unbundling of legal services
  • Collaborative law practice
  • Parenting Coordinator
  • Facilitation
  • Consultation, Practitioner Process

Mediating Other Family Questions

  • Ongoing marriages
  • Estate disputes
  • Parents and children
  • Health and elder care

Questions and Catch-up

6  p.m. Graduation!

Anyone may take these classes to become a well-trained mediator. However, training does not guarantee certification by the S.C. Board of Arbitrator & Mediator Certification; you must also be eligible for certification, of which training is only one requirement. For all Board certification requirements, please read closely court-annexed ADR Rule 19, available at, along with applications, roster, FAQs and much more. 

Civil Court Mediation 
Harry Goodheart 
Mediation Resources, Tryon NC 

Tiffany Provence 
Provence Messervy, LLC, Summerville, SC 

Family Court Mediation 
Bruce Poore 
Rock Hill, SC 

Joy Bennett 
Joy D. Bennett, LISW, Greenville, SC


If you have a disability, please call ahead to let us know how we may accommodate your needs. 

All registrations must be pre-paid. 
Cancellation & Refund Policy: 
Refunds, less $250 processing fee, will be made for cancellations received in writing to the Registrar at or by fax to (803) 252-8427 by 5 p.m., ten days prior to date of program. One-time transefers to seminars of like value will be accepted for a $100 administrative fee in lieu of cancellations within one week of seminar. If you register but do not cancel or attend, you will receive the written handout materials in consideration of payment. Designated substitutes may take the place of registrants unable to attend. 

  • Columbia
    In-Person Seminar
    Bar Conference Center
    1501 Park Street , Columbia, SC 29201