What is Mediation?
Mediation of a divorce or other family law matter is a moderated negotiation that is intended to settle your dispute. If the mediation is successful, an agreement is reached. If the mediation is not successful, then you and your spouse/partner can reach an agreement later or go to court and have a judge decide the outcome.
Why Use Mediation instead of Court?
Mediation may save you thousands of dollars that you would otherwise spend on attorneys. It also allows you to end up with an outcome that you agreed to rather than one imposed upon you by a judge. I would estimate that 90% of family law matters are settled before the trial date. Most family law matters have a mediated or negotiated resolution.
Who Should Not Use Mediation?
If you are afraid or intimated by your partner, or believe your partner is not truthful about finances, then mediation may not be a good fit for you. In these types of instances, an attorney may serve you better because you may need a buffer between you and your partner. Also, the litigation process provides for various means for obtaining a financial disclosure that you may not voluntarily receive from your partner.
Why Use Me for Your Mediation?
There are three reasons.
- I am qualified. I have an extensive knowledge of Washington State family law. I know how judges decide these cases. I’ve tried many divorce cases.
- I am neutral. I am not a father’s advocate or a mother’s advocate or belong to an organization that would tend to exhibit favoritism
- I am good communicator. I listen to you and can repeat back to you what you have told me. I am also able to explain the facts and law to you in terms that you understand.
It’s Worth Traveling to Seattle to Mediate With Us?
I conduct a structured mediation. I have attended lots of mediations that have no structure; and the time, opportunity and money spent on the mediation is wasted. The structure I use:
- You agree to mediate and learn what the process is about.
- I prepare a preliminary analysis that goes over the likely outcomes if the matter went before a judge. The law provides a basis for reasonable divorcing couples to arrive at their own solutions. I have never been to a divorce mediation in Seattle in which the mediator provided any such framework. But it is the essential thing for getting agreements.
- We meet in a room together. Most mediators shuttle between rooms, occupied by the spouses and their respective attorneys. I think that is often a terrible solution. The frustration of this process was colorfully expressed in a Yelp review of one well-known Seattle mediator: “What a fiasco…. First, you bring your attorney to the tune of 250 an hour. Then the other side brings their attorney for 250 an hour. Then you pre-pay this [mediator] 300 bucks an hour. So you’re in 800 bones an hour to have this guy go back and forth to each room.”
- The communications goes through me, and we discuss options, trying to get at an optimal solution.
- I draft up your agreement that you can bring back to your lawyer for final review and finalize with the court.
Basic Mediation Package
Half day of mediation. This includes 1 hour of prep time and 3 hours of mediation.
If there is an agreement, I draft up your agreement at the end of the session.