Divorce Mediation

When we first marry, we do it with the complete certainty that our marriage will last forever.  Unfortunately, as years go by, couples experience constant challenges of all types.

These challenges bring interpersonal conflict and create situations that trigger the decision to get divorced.

Under such undesirable circumstances, it is crucial to explore divorcing avenues, and proceed very carefully.  Unfortunately, what normally happens is the intention to fight through the system, with painful consequences to the whole family, particularly the children. Contended divorce proceedings can disturb our emotional, family, financial aspects for years to come.

Mediation is defined in the Uniform Mediation Act, RCW Chapter 7.07 as:

 “A process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiations between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their disputes.”

This process can help prevent legal action (or litigation) by reaching a consensus before lawyers need to be involved.  Mediation is not legal counsel, but rather a way to professionally negotiate without court involvement.

Is mediation in contested cases a requirement for the court?

Skagit County Local Special Proceedings Rules, Part V. 94.04.2

(c)  MEDIATION IN CONTESTED CASES.  Mediation shall apply to all cases filed after January 1, 2004. In all cases having unresolved issues (except child support issues), both parties shall in good faith engage in mediation with a court-approved mediator in an effort to resolve the case. The parties may either agree to a mediator from the court-approved list., or it will be determined by use of a strike.  In cases where parenting issues exist, the mediation shall not occur until both parties have completed the parenting seminar described in SCLSPR 94.04.1. A certificate of completion signed by the mediator shall be filed with the clerk of the court prior to trial.”

(g) CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION. Prior to a final dissolution hearing or the trial date, mediation
must be completed. Failure to complete mediation, prior to the trial date, will result in the trial being
stricken. A certification of completion signed by the mediator shall be filed with the clerk. [Effective
September 1, 2005; amended April 2, 2006]

Whatcom County Superior Court Local Special Proceeding Rules
WCSPR 94.08 Filings in Family Law Cases (h) (i) (j) (k)

(h) Mediation in Contested Cases. Except as provided in section (g) below, in all
cases specified in section (a) having unresolved issues (except child support issues),
both parties shall in good faith engage in mediation with a court approved mediator in
an effort to resolve the case. The parties may either agree to a mediator from the
court approved list or the mediator will be determined by use of a strike list. The cost
of mediation shall be paid by the parties in proportion to their incomes. Either party
may seek a court apportionment of the cost of mediation.

(i) When Mediation Is Not Required. Mediation shall be required as provided in section
except in the following cases:

(1) For good cause shown upon motion and approval by the court; or
(2) Where a domestic violence restraining order or protection order (excluding
ex-parte orders) involving the parties has been entered by a court at any time
within the previous 12 months;
(3) Where a domestic violence no contact order exists pursuant to RCW 10.99;
(4) Where the court upon motion finds that domestic abuse has occurred
between the parties and that such abuse would interfere with arm’s length

(j) Notwithstanding the foregoing, either party may by motion seek a court order requiring
mediation in a case where it would not be required otherwise, if the moving party
believes that the parties would be able to mediate their dispute and that mediation is
reasonably likely to promote or achieve resolution.

(k) Settlement Conferences. If, after mediation in good faith, or where mediation is not
required, there remain unresolved issues in any case specified in section (a), the parties
shall personally participate in a settlement conference conducted by a judicial officer or,
for good cause shown, a person approved by the court in advance. Five days prior to the
settlement conference, each party shall submit their list of unresolved issues to the
settlement officer. The settlement conference shall take place no later than 2 weeks prior
to trial. See also the Pro Se Instructions for Setting Settlement Conference and Trial
Dates; WCSPR 94.08, and the Family Law Settlement Conference Instructions, all of
which can be found on the Whatcom County Superior Court web page under “Local
Forms – Domestic.”

Courtrooms cost time, money, and create an emotional turmoil.

Mediation is usually a better way to resolve conflict as it prevents Litigation.
Mediation can better bring two (or more) parties together for a productive and respectful discussion that leads to a faster and more appropriate resolution.

How does the process work?

If you are going through a strong interpersonal conflict.  Shall you fight? or shall you surrender or give in?

Good news! There are more options!   Call us today, so we can help you explore mediation

Essentially,  either party can initiate the mediation process, even if already represented.  Exploring mediation options and styles is critical.

Mediation can help create a productive conversation.  Let us explain how mediation often times is the best approach for reaching a resolution in a family dispute.

Jorge Manzanera / Skagit Mediation is a Superior Court Approved Family Law Mediator 

Call or text today, we can schedule a 30 mins no-fee, no-obligation consultation. 

(360) 399-6429

Mediation for divorce and separation cases is often completed in one to three mediation sessions, whereas litigation can take months or even years with piles and piles of paperwork.

Why not just hire a lawyer?  Lawyers litigate.  Let’s look at some of the differences between mediation and litigation.



·         Promotes collaboration ·         Creates bitter rivalry
·         Both parties have control of the process ·         Lawyers decide what to do
·         Confidential ·         Public
·         Minimum paperwork ·         Maximum paperwork
·         Affordable ·         Expensive
·         Minimal sessions ·         Drags on for months to years
·         Stimulates co-operation ·         Forces parties to
·         Consensual agreement ·         US-vs-THEM
·         Productive and respectful communication ·         Blocks communication among parties.
·         Moves you to a better future, you feel proud of yourself and optimistic about the future ·         Gives you an outcome that you and loved ones might regret for many years.

Mediation can make your life easier, promoting moving forward and focusing on a more appropriate solution. Mediation saves time, money, effort, and stress, and allow relationships to co-exist.

See the video of Dana Caspersen: Conflict can be a place of opportunity.