Mediation is a means of resolving all issues related to the parties’ divorce by agreement. It is an alternative to going to trial to resolve disputed claims. Most courts in Washington require the parties to mediate before going to trial, so you need to know what to expect and how to prepare.
In divorce mediation, a mediator, or a neutral third party, meets with the spouses and their attorneys in order to help them reach an agreement. Anyone can serve as a mediator in the state of Washington; there is no certification process or education required to serve as a mediator. However, there are education courses for training mediators as well as programs that train mediators specifically in divorce mediation. Knowing who you can trust with your issues is an important first step in mediation. Pacific Northwest Family Law attorneys are familiar with family law mediators in the area and can guide you to one who will fit your particular needs.
Most mediators place each spouse in a separate room with his or her attorney. The mediator then will shuttle between the parties, taking each parties positions, offers, and counter-offers. The mediator will also help you determine what is a reasonable offer and the good ones will challenge you to create a solution that will help you come to an agreement. For instance, a mediator may point out the weaknesses of each party’s case regarding a certain issue, which may encourage them to reach some sort of middle ground on the issue. The benefit of this shuttle approach is that the mediator can express an opinion to one spouse without the other spouse hearing it.
Under certain circumstances, the courts will waive mediation. This happens, for example, when there is a history of domestic violence and mediation would pose a risk of harm to one spouse.
Pacific Northwest Family Law attorneys have experience assisting clients through the mediation process and can help you create a winning strategy to help resolve your divorce or domestic case. Call our officesat (509) 581-4342 and learn how we can help you with your Washington divorce or family law case today.