The Reality of Mediation in Your Divorce Proceedings

Mackenzie O. Bretz Edmonds Lawyer

When filing a petition for dissolution in Washington state, most counties require the parties to mediate before proceeding to trial. Required mediation is an effort by the Washington State Courts to reduce congestion and promote judicial efficiency for all parties. While some parties may be unsure about mediation, it allows both sides to maintain control over the outcome of their divorce without giving that decision to a judge.

Other Benefits of Mediation

While mediation allows parties to maintain their autonomy, it has other positive benefits. Meditation can:

  • Promote open communication and cooperation.
  • Move your case along quickly.
  • Be more cost-effective.
  • Provide a more flexible and adapted approach to addressing each party’s needs and interests, promoting a more satisfying and robust resolution.
  • Keep your issues off public record.

What to Look for in a Mediator

Having an experienced mediator whom you or your attorney can effectively communicate with is crucial for the success of your mediation. Finding a mediator who is impartial, empathetic, and skilled in facilitating constructive dialogue is essential. It is also important to consider that your mediator must work with your ex, too. They will have to get them to come to a resolution and be able to speak their language, so considering someone they may be more open to working with may be beneficial to your case. Lastly, make sure your mediator has experience in family law. While mediators cannot provide legal advice, they can offer insights based on previous court rulings and help determine reasonable offers.

Do You Have to be Represented by an Attorney in Mediation?

Mediation does not require attorneys to represent parties, although we highly recommend it. The attorney represents the client’s individual interests, provides legal advice throughout the process, and reviews the final documents. Having an attorney by your side can allow you to fiercely advocate for your position and understand when negotiation on your side is appropriate.

What Happens After Mediation?

If an agreement is not reached, the parties have several options. They can agree to participate in another mediation with the same mediator or with a different mediator, submit their disputes to an arbitrator to decide, or proceed to court, where the decisions will be made by a commissioner or a judge.

If the parties can agree, it will be reduced to writing and signed. While one of the benefits of mediation is that it avoids dealing with the court system, it is prudent for the parents to file any custody agreement with a court that would have jurisdiction over the matter following the mediation. This provides a protection that allows either parent to seek court intervention to enforce the agreement, should one of the parents decline to abide by its terms.

To learn more about The Reality of Mediation in Your Divorce Proceedings, please contact Beresford Booth at or by phone at (425) 776-4100.

BERESFORD BOOTH has made this content available to the general public for informational purposes only. The information on this site is not intended to convey legal opinions or legal advice.