Seattle Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation is a way to resolve divorce or family law related disputes that gives you and your spouse control over the outcome. In mediation, the only people making decisions are the parties, unlike arbitration or litigation, where an arbitrator or judge make the final decision.
If both parties act in good-faith, mediation can be a very cost-effective, less time-consuming manner of resolve disagreements.
Divorce mediation consists of a joint meeting between spouses that last several hours each. During those meetings, the parties discuss the issues that need to be resolved in the case.
What Role Does the Mediator Play?
The mediator is there to help you negotiate and resolve issues such as property division, spousal support, visitation and child support. The goal is to resolve the issues in dispute and come to final agreement.
A mediator helps you identify issues to resolve, assists you to find options for settlement, and informs you and your spouse of the advantages and disadvantages of each option. A mediator cannot give legal advice and does not represent or advocate for you or your spouse. You and your spouse may each obtain an attorney if you choose, and obtaining legal advice prior to mediation is highly advised. You may also have your attorney attend mediation with you. You and your spouse may also retain neutral experts to assist with various aspects of your including real estate appraisers, forensic accountants (to value pension plans) and business valuation experts.
Who is Best Suited for Mediation?
Mediation is a good option for family law conflicts that do not involve domestic violence or other factors that greatly impact the ability to obtain voluntary, non-coerced agreements. Indeed in King County and surrounding counties, mediation (or arbitration) is required to attempt to resolve disputes prior to going to trial.
At Weintraub Law Office, mediation is available for both unrepresented and lawyer represented couples who are generally cooperative and whose cases do not involve allegations of or facts indicating domestic violence, spouse or child abuse.
Areas of Mediation
Typically mediation covers the following areas:
- Child Custody and Parenting Plan
- Property Division
- Support including:
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
Mediation Process – An Overview
Once both sides have agreed to use divorce mediation, an initial meeting session is scheduled. .
An initial appointment is made and both spouses are requested to bring in certain documentation. During the initial appointment, each spouse’s goals are discussed and the documentation is reviewed. A written agreement is then reviewed and signed.
The mediation is conducted in a follow up appointment that typically lasts several hours each. The amount of time spent will depend on the number and complexity of legal issues in dispute.
The mediation session will consist of a joint session (both spouses and the mediator) or the mediator may have individual meetings (one spouse and the mediator). If necessary, a second session and/or subsequent mediation sessions may be held to resolve issues – though the goal is to mediate an agreement in one session.
The Mediation Agreement
At the mediation, the mediator makes detailed notes of agreements as they are reached.
When all issues are resolved, the mediator drafts a settlement agreement which summarizes the agreements made. The agreement is binding once signed by both spouses.
If court orders are required, the agreement is then converted into final orders by the parties themselves or an attorney or attorneys representing the spouse(s). Due to conflict of interest concerns, the mediator cannot prepare the final orders.
Each party typically pays for one-half of the mediator’s fees unless an alternate arrangement is agreed to by the parties.
Bo Weintraub is a trained mediator and has successfully mediated numerous family law disputes.
Call Weintraub Law Office at (425) 374-4045 or contact us online to request an appointment and learn more about property division in the context of a divorce case.
Weintraub Law Office has offices in Seattle, Bellevue, and Bothell and represents clients in King, Snohomish, and Pierce County.