The premiere organization dedicated to professional family mediation – educating the public about the value of family mediation and promoting excellence and professionalism among family mediators.
When members of a family need to figure out what to do about serious problems or conflicts, a professional family mediator can provide crucial support for constructive communication and difficult decision-making. Members of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators provide mediation services to families making decisions about separation, divorce or marital dissolution, child custody, parenting or co-parenting, property distribution, spousal support (a.k.a. alimony), and/or child support. Family mediators also help people consider the factors that matter to them and work toward decisions about family business matters, pre-nuptial agreements, elder care, inheritance disputes and other disagreements, conflicts or issues within a family.
Mediation offers people the opportunity to resolve their disputes with the help of a neutral person trained in mediation skills, domestic violence issues, financial issues, and other relevant topics. The mediator is not a judge or an arbitrator who imposes a decision on people. The mediator’s role is to assist people in negotiating their own ways to resolve their problems or concerns. Respecting people’s rights to make their own decisions about their lives is high on the list of ethical duties of family mediators.
Mediators may come from a variety of professional backgrounds. They include attorneys, psychologists, social workers, marriage or family counselors and financial specialists. In addition to any other training they already have, members of APFM receive specialized training in mediation skills such as listening well, helping people discern and express their desires and goals, and helping people think creatively about ways to resolve their dilemmas. APFM encourages family mediators to reach high levels of training and to pursue opportunities for further professional development throughout their careers.
For the public, the Academy of Professional Family Mediators provides (a) numerous articles about figuring out how to meet various family challenges and (b) a directory of family mediators that is searchable by location.
For mediators, the Academy of Professional Family Mediators provides educational materials and programs, a quarterly newsletter and information about other mediation training opportunities. APFM also holds energizing conferences at which mediators learn from each other and inspire each other.
We believe that in most cases working with a professional family mediator is one of the best ways to work toward solving family problems and resolving family conflicts.