What Happens After Divorce Mediation in Washington State?

Posted by Alesha Struthers Jun 28, 2022

What Happens After Divorce Mediation in Washington State? 

When you begin your journey through divorce, many steps and emotions are involved. After the proper divorce paperwork is filed, there is a step known as discovery where both parties present certain documents. Once that step is complete, both parties have the opportunity to mediate. This article will talk about what happens after divorce mediation in Washington state.

This article is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended for legal advice. If you need legal advice on what happens after divorce mediation in Washington state , The Offices of Alesha Struthers offers free consultations.

What Is Mediation in Divorce?

Meditation is the primary method of alternative dispute resolution . It attempts to settle disagreements between you and your ex-spouse on your own accord involving a neutral third-party present. This neutral third party is known as a mediator.

During mediation, you and your ex-spouse meet either in a room together or in separate rooms communicating through the mediator. The mediator will work to keep everyone on topic and assist you and your former spouse in resolving issues involved in the divorce. A mediator cannot make choices for you or the other party. Depending on the situation, mediation can be quite successful for some separating couples.

Related: Is Mediation Required in Snohomish County?

Your attorneys are not required to be present. However, many people prefer to have their attorneys involved to make confident choices and agreements. This is especially important if you find out that your former spouse decides to have their attorney attend. Their attorney cannot provide you with legal advice.

Choosing the right mediator makes a big difference in how your mediation process goes. When choosing a mediator, make sure their mediation style appeals to you and your ex's way of communicating and that they understand you and your spouse's culture and personalities. Remember, your mediator is not your friend or on your side, even if you hired them yourself.

Related: Divorce Mediation Checklist: 4 Best Tips

What happens after divorce mediation in Washington state  depends on whether mediation is successful. There are two outcomes that we will go over in this article. First, let's talk about if divorce mediation is required in Washington state.

Is Divorce Mediation Required in Washington State?

Divorce mediation is not required state-wide. However, some counties like Snohomish County require alternative dispute resolution. As mentioned before, mediation is the primary method of alternative dispute resolution. In a Snohomish County divorce , you will be urged to attempt mediation. A successful mediation is not required.

Related: What Happens During the Snohomish County Divorce Process?

However, if you are escaping an abusive relationship, you have two options. You can stipulate that you and your ex-spouse must be in separate rooms while the mediator moves between rooms to communicate. This method is called the shuttle approach. Suppose you believe that any attempt to make an agreement of any kind with your ex, even with the help of a mediator, would be pointless or dangerous to your mental or physical health. In that case, you may petition to waive the mediation requirement.

What Happens After Divorce Mediation in Washington State? 

If you and your ex-spouse go through mediation, the next step depends on whether your mediation is successful. Successful mediation can shorten the divorce process, while an unsuccessful mediation requires more steps to reach the end of the divorce. We will go over the process of when both parties agree in mediation. So, what happens after divorce mediation in Washington state ?

Successful mediations occur when you and your ex-spouse come to an agreement during mediation. The next step is entering an agreed final order. Once the judge signs it, the divorce process is complete. A successful mediation makes the divorce process much faster, even though the divorce process takes no less than 90 days to complete.

Unsuccessful mediations occur when you and your ex-spouse cannot agree. The next step is trial. You and your ex-spouse will have a court date where a judge will make decisions on what couldn't be agreed upon. This can not only be lengthy but also expensive between court fees and attorney fees. Whatever the judge decides will become part of final orders and must be followed by both parties.

Once your divorce paperwork is finalized, you should understand that some things can't be modified. Any property distribution is final once the divorce paperwork is signed. Other areas can be challenged with another court date. However, that is more time and money involved. If possible, a successful mediation benefits everyone involved, and statistically, more people are likely to follow a court order they agreed on.

Mediate Your Snohomish County Divorce: Free Consultation

If you have any more questions about what happens after divorce mediation in Washington state, the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers is here to help. With over 20 years of mediation experience, Alesha Struthers can successfully guide you or mediate for you through your divorce process. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and see if the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers are right for you.

Disclaimer: This publication is not legal advice. It is intended as legal information only. For legal advice specific to your needs, contact the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers, PS at 800-972-0411.

Posted June 2022.