Mediation in Washington: An alternative option to traditional litigation

Divorce is never easy. In addition to acknowledging that a relationship is ending, the divorce process itself can be tedious. The traditional method can be drawn out and contentious. However, there are alternatives.

For some couples, one alternative is mediation. Mediation is a process that generally works best for uncontested divorces and allows couples to have more control over the details of the split. Those who are considering this method would do well to have a basic understanding of how the process works in their state.

Mediation in Washington: The basics.

Mediation may work well for couples who are able to discuss property division, child support and child custody issues without court intervention. Instead of having judges review the case and determine how assets should be divided or going over the details of how parenting time should be split, couples can work together and develop their own separation agreement and parenting plan with the guidance of a professionally trained counselor.

Mediation in Washington is a voluntary process. Although not required, it is wise to consider the benefits of mediation before making a decision to use the more traditional, litigious courtroom divorce proceeding. The American Bar Association, a group of legal professionals from throughout the country, note that mediation allows the parties involved in the divorce to have authority over how the divorce will be finalized. According to the group, couples who chose to finalize a split with this method "end in agreement 70 to 80 percent of the time and have high rates of compliance."

Tips for success if going through mediation in Washington

Mediation is becoming more popular throughout the country. In fact, a recent article in the Huffington Post was published outlining some tips to increase the odds of a successful outcome when using mediation. The overarching theme of each tip was communication. To help increase the odds of a successful outcome, it is important to clearly communicate your expectations. For some, this means bringing an outline of how they would like assets to be divided or expectations on how parenting time will be split and expenses for children will be covered. For others, it may mean meeting first with a counselor before the mediation begins to help mentally prepare for the process.

Whatever option works best for your situation, it is wise to contact an experienced Washington family law attorney before moving forward with a divorce. This legal professional will review your situation and help guide you through the process, better ensuring a more successful outcome.