In King County, all spouses are required to participate in mediation before trial, with few exceptions. Most cases are resolved in mediation saving the spouses litigation costs and emotional exposure. This process gives each spouse the power to choose a middle ground, and find agreement.
At trial, the Court will decide how to resolve issues and may order an unfavorable decision for both spouses.
Mediation can be set up in many different ways, such as shuttle diplomacy. This common method includes a neutral mediator who goes from one room to the other. Each spouse and their attorney are in separate rooms. The mediator shuttles back and forth from each room as many times as is necessary. Most mediators charge and hourly rate, and will set up a half or full day session in advance.
Preparation for mediation is critical. In most cases, an attorney will prepare a formal letter with attachments and may draft proposed final orders.
Remember, mediation can be costly, but having an attorney to help through the process can be beneficial, especially with the goal of avoiding trial.