Family Business Specialty

Requirements for Registered Family Mediator Status Specializing in Family Business Mediation

Common issues that a Family Business specialist might mediate include:

  • Succession planning
  • Estate planning
  • Ownership issues
  • Relationship transitions for family business members
  • Dissolution issues

In order to meet the qualifications to be a Registered Family Mediator, with a specialization in Family Business, a mediator must fulfill all of the following requirements (A – F).

A. Education and Experience

All RFMs must meet one of the following four education and experience descriptions:

1.   A Law degree or a Master-level degree in one of the following: Psychology, Social Work, Education, Mediation, Conflict Resolution or other related field (such as Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology, Nursing, Religion, Philosophy);


25 hours of mediation experience; or

2.   Bachelor-level degree in one of the following: Psychology, Social Work, Education, Mediation, Conflict Resolution or other related field (such as Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology, Nursing, Religion, Philosophy


minimum 100-hour Conflict Resolution Training with Skills Assessment* and/or two Letters of Reference**


25 hours of mediation experience; or

3.   Bachelor-level degree (in anything) or related Diploma (Social Work, Education, Corrections, Paralegal) plus Minimum 200-hour Conflict Resolution Training with Skills Assessment* and/or two Letters of Reference**


75 hours of mediation experience (co-mediating, shadowing a qualified mediator, volunteer mediation, mentorship); or

4.   Minimum 250-hour Conflict Resolution Training with Skills Assessment and/or two reference letters from a professional in a related field


100 hours of mediation experience.

Mediators who also practice collaborative law may use their collaborative law experience to maintain their RFM status but must initially qualify for this designation by undertaking mediation cases.

*A program with Skills Assessment would be a role play, exam and/or evaluation.

**From a professional in a related field; must use provided form.

B. Basic Mediation Training

In addition to, or as part of, the above qualifications, all Registered Family Mediators must have completed generic conflict resolutions courses, totalling a minimum of 40 hours, which have covered all of the following areas:

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Negotiation
  • Communication
  • Interest-based Mediation
  • Mediation Skills


(Please note that AFMS puts on a 40 hour Basic Mediation course but courses from many other institutions are suitable.  The Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) course "Mediation of Family & Divorce Conflicts" is NOT a Basic Mediation course but is instead considered "Specialized Training" often used as part of Registered Family Mediator (RFM) membership qualifications.  All levels of mediator membership with AFMS require a Basic Mediation course.)

C. Specialized Mediation Training

All RFMs applying for a specialty in Family Business must complete an additional 40 hours of specialized training covering appropriate topics from the following list. 

Candidates may request to submit and have other relevant training considered in lieu of the requested list.    

• Advanced communication skills

• Advanced negotiation skills

• Pre-mediation/Intake sessions (approaches, forms)

• Screening for family violence/partner abuse and power imbalances

• Advanced mediation skills

• Will and estate planning

• Succession planning in family business

• Multi-party mediation

• Special issues in mediating family business agreements

• Introduction to basic accounting

• Strategic directions for family business

• Business leadership issues

• Family business ownership types

• Corporate structures

• Legacies in family business

• Cultural awareness/sensitivity 

• Inclusivity /diversity

• Provincial and Federal Legislation, case law 

• Writing reports

• Knowledge and application of AFMS Code of Professional Conduct and ethics/liabilities and standards of practice


D. Documentation

RFM candidates must submit copies of three (3) real mediation reports (with identifying details omitted) demonstrating the results of Family Business mediations. These reports should demonstrate a knowledge and competence to deal in a variety of family business issues.

Please provide sufficient detail of the mediations that you are submitting for review, to allow the review committee to understand the process and its outcomes.

It is AFMS policy that our mediators do not prepare agreements for client signature. The reports should have a clear indication that the provisional agreements reached by the clients are subject to their obtaining independent legal advice and will be non-binding until incorporated into a formal signed agreement. Reports should be signed by the mediator.

E. Malpractice Liability Insurance

All RFMs must submit evidence of applicable malpractice insurance coverage for Alberta.

F. Ongoing Activity and Education

All RFMs specializing in the area of Family Business mediation must complete a minimum of 50 hours of mediation per year in this area.

In addition, RFMs must complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education in this specialty area every two years.


Alternative Qualifications

Applicants who do not meet these qualifications may submit a letter of request to have their relevant experience and educational qualifications assessed by the Registrar. The onus is on the applicant to outline where they think the equivalencies lie. 

Application Forms

To apply for Registered Family Mediator status, print and complete the Application Forms and return them to our offices along with the required fees.

Application Forms for Registered Family Mediator Status

Letter of Reference Form
If you're submitting reference letters in support of your application for a designation, please use this: AFMS letter of reference