Mediation for Divorce in Washington State

By Heather Frances J.D.

When Washington spouses divorce, they can agree on the terms of their divorce, and the court can adopt that agreement in the divorce decree. Washington law and the Washington court system encourage spouses to attend mediation, which involves a neutral third party who helps the spouses resolve their differences regarding child custody, spousal support or other issues so that they can reach agreement.

Mediation

Mediation can help spouses avoid litigation, since the court won’t have to resolve any issues if the spouses reach agreement on everything, but Washington does not require spouses to attend mediation. Washington law gives courts the authority to order mediation in particular cases, but Washington law does not require mediation. When the court orders mediation, the purpose is to resolve any contested -- or disputed -- issues before the court hears the issues at a hearing.

Advantages of Mediation

Mediation can be a beneficial alternative to having the court resolve a couple’s disputes. Mediation is less formal than a court hearing, and it provides flexible scheduling, confidentiality and few rules. Mediation may be cheaper than going straight to court, since it is less formal and rarely requires either side to provide evidence in favor of his arguments. Mediation agreements are voluntary, so spouses cannot be forced to reach agreement.

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Agreement

When spouses reach agreement during mediation, they can choose to make their agreement legally binding. This allows the spouses to avoid litigation -- and the accompanying costs and delays -- because the Washington court can simply adopt the agreement as it is written. Without such an agreement, the court would have to hold a formal hearing, or trial, to receive evidence to make its own determinations.

Certification

Washington does not have a governmental certification process for mediators, but Washington does have an association of dispute resolution centers as well as a mediation association. These professional organizations offer a certification process, and divorcing spouses can choose a mediator through these organizations. Washington’s Dispute Resolution Centers are private organizations that are authorized by the state legislature, and they provide low-cost mediation services by trained professionals.

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Divorce Mediation Questions

References

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How to Complete a Friendly Divorce

It's not unheard of that two people decide to forego the screaming, crying and gnashing of teeth that often goes hand-in-hand with divorce. It is possible, however, that two people can agree to leave their marriage with maturity, and preserve what they can of their friendship -- either for themselves or their children. Once you've made the decision to move forward in the spirit of cooperation, some approaches exist for you to choose from that may help you complete a friendly divorce.

What Happens in a Divorce Mediation in Miami, Florida?

Peace is to war what mediation is to litigation. When you or your spouse files for divorce in Miami, you have the option of fighting it out in court or working it out in a cooperative fashion. Working it out can save you money and lessen the emotional damage that often results from a contested divorce. Accordingly, the Miami-Dade County courts frequently order mediation before trial to give the parties a chance to come to an agreement they both find satisfactory. If you are required to mediate, or request mediation, the mediation division of the county court system will supply an in-house mediator, although you are free to ask for your own private mediator, pending approval by your spouse.

Oregon Divorce Mediation & Arbitration

Oregon courts encourage divorcing spouses to work together and resolve marital issues such as custody and property division on their own. To that end, the court will order couples to attend mediation when custody disagreements arise. If the contested issue involves property, the court will send the couple to arbitration so that the couple can decide the matter in a less formal setting. By utilizing mediation and arbitration when necessary, Oregon spouses often move through the divorce process quickly, and with fewer costs.

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