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In general, how does divorce mediation work?

Does every divorce need to cumulate in a bitter, anger-filled war between the spouses? Not necessarily. Sometimes two spouses in a divorce may find that while they can no longer stay married, they can at least work together to reach a fair divorce settlement. Mediation is one or several ways Washington spouses in a divorce can achieve this goal.

Through mediation, a neutral third party called the mediator facilitates discussions between the spouses as they work out their divorce legal issues. Spouses in Washington may wonder, how do mediation sessions generally proceed?

In general, mediation involves a series of sessions. In the first session, the spouses along with the mediator will determine what issues they will attempt to resolve through mediation and in what order they will tackle such issues.

The spouses will then determine what information needs to be collected and made available to each spouse to achieve their goals, including information from professionals such as appraisers and accountants. The gathering of such information is done with the same level of care as if the divorce was being litigated.

After the first mediation session, additional sessions will be held. The discussions in these sessions will cover how the spouses can reach an agreement on their divorce legal issues that is fair and appropriate. The mediator may be able to discuss the procession of the legal system with the parties and give them ideas about how to reach an agreement on their divorce legal issues.

Finally, once the spouses have reached a settlement on some or all of their divorce legal issues, an agreement will be written by the mediator and reviewed by each spouse and their lawyers. In general, such agreements will need to be presented to the court to be legally binding.

This post has provided general information about the mediation process. Of course, each divorce is unique, and the way mediation proceeds for one couple may not be the same as it proceeds for another couple. That is why it is important to for each spouse to retain his or her own attorney during any Washington divorce, to ensure his or her interests are represented throughout the mediation process.

Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Mediation FAQ," Accessed Oct. 19, 2015

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