Why Consider Divorce Mediation?

Posted on May 10, 2024 03:37pm
Why Consider Divorce Mediation?

Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process. However, for divorcing couples seeking an amicable and cost-effective resolution, divorce mediation offers a compelling alternative to traditional litigation. A neutral third party, the mediator, facilitates communication and guides couples in working towards mutually agreeable settlements on key issues such as child custody, spousal support, and asset division.

Is Mediation Required for Divorce in Washington State?

While state law does not require couples to attend mediation, divorce mediation is required in certain counties. Regardless of your county’s requirements, mediation should be something you consider.

The Benefits of Divorce Mediation in Washington State

Divorcing couples can benefit from mediation for the following reasons:

Reduced cost and time. Litigation can be a protracted and expensive affair. Mediation, on the other hand, streamlines the process, with couples and their legal representative controlling the pace and scope of discussions. This translates to significant cost savings compared to litigation.

Preservation of civility. Mediation fosters a collaborative environment where couples can address sensitive topics constructively. The mediator guides open communication, minimizing hostility and promoting a more civil approach to divorce. This civility can be especially beneficial for couples with children, as it reduces acrimony and promotes a healthier co-parenting dynamic.

Self-determination. In litigation, a judge dictates the outcome. Mediation empowers couples to craft solutions that meet their specific needs and circumstances. This fosters a sense of ownership and control over the divorce process, leading to greater satisfaction with the final settlement.

Focus on the children. Mediation prioritizes the well-being of children caught in the midst of divorce. The mediator can help couples develop a detailed parenting plan that addresses child custody, visitation schedules, and communication protocols. This collaborative approach ensures children's needs are met throughout the transition.

Confidentiality. Unlike court proceedings, which become public record, mediation is confidential. This allows couples to discuss sensitive matters openly and freely without fear of public scrutiny.

Emotional well-being. The adversarial nature of litigation can exacerbate emotional distress. Mediation, with its focus on communication and compromise, fosters a less contentious environment, potentially reducing stress and anxiety for both parties.

Strengthened communication. Mediation can help you learn to communicate better with one another. If you plan to co-parent after your divorce, learning how to de-escalate disagreements and compromise can be valuable tools.

It is also important to note that mediation can be unsuccessful. The mediator cannot and will not force you to reach a decision, and the goal of mediation is to have both parties be satisfied with a final agreement. If you are unable to reach a mutually agreed upon agreement, you can then go to trial. So, there is really no harm in trying to mediate your divorce agreement before litigating your case.

Addressing Common Misunderstandings About Mediation

You may be apprehensive about choosing to mediate because of myths surrounding it. In fact, mediation can be helpful in many situations.

Here are some mediation myths:

  • Mediation is only for couples who are amicable. While mediation does allow both parties to feel heard, not all couples who attend mediation will be friendly or amicable, and mediators expect that. Even couples who are not currently speaking can opt for mediation.
  • Mediation is only for those with a simple divorce. If you have a complex financial situation or other unique issues, you can still opt to mediate your case.
  • Mediation is risky because you don’t have legal counsel. While mediators will not offer legal guidance to either party, you can have an attorney with you during the mediation process; they can advise you on your rights, how certain decisions can impact you, and help you with negotiations.

Learn More About Our Mediation Services

McKinley Irvin offers mediation services to divorcing couples in Washington state. If you are facing a family law issue, we can help you reach a divorce agreement that works for both parties.

  • Best Lawyers
  • Best Law Firms
  • Super Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent
  • Puget Sound Business Journal Washington's Best Workplaces 2023
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers - Lawyer of the Year 2024
  • Avvo Rating 10.0
  • "My attorney was very good in and out of the courtroom. Always kept me up to date on any issues that came up. " R.R.
  • "We would highly recommend the knowledgeable and dedicated law firm of McKinley Irvin to anyone who might be seeking legal services. " P.M.
  • "I knew I had made the right decision. From the beginning of my case to conclusion, I knew I had a great team looking out for my best interest. " Christine P.
  • "I cannot imagine two people better able to represent me " M.L.
  • "I always felt my specific needs were very well represented and that I could count on David to be a trusted adviser. " T.M.
Read More