Depending on your circumstances, you may assume that mediation won’t have any positive benefit on your divorce and relationship as a whole. However, if you’re filing for divorce in the Snohomish County court system, it’s important to note that you’re required to attempt mediation before proceeding with litigation.
Since you’re going through divorce mediation, you might as well do what you can to make the most of it. And that starts with having a full understanding of the process and how it generally unfolds. Here’s a basic outline of what to expect:
- First meeting: This is the opportunity for you and your spouse to meet with the mediator, explain your stance and lay out everything you need to discuss and resolve in your divorce. Common issues include property and debt division, child support, alimony and child custody, and visitation.
- Future meetings: All future meetings are designed with the idea of compromising and negotiating on the path toward creating a mutually acceptable divorce agreement. You can’t expect to figure everything out in one meeting, so make sure you plan accordingly. Generally, a mediation session lasts anywhere from two to three hours.
- The final agreement: Once you work through all your issues, the mediator drafts an agreement for you and your legal team to review and sign.
If everything works out in divorce mediation, you won’t have to spend any time in court. The mediator can file the appropriate documents with the local court, thus pushing the process down the home stretch.
No two divorcing couples are the same in the approach that they take, so there’s no way of knowing how long mediation will last. But one thing is for sure: The more willing the two of you are to negotiate and compromise, the quicker the process will unfold. It’s a must to have some flexibility during mediation.
Knowledge of the divorce mediation process will help you prepare accordingly and take steps along the way to protect your legal rights and remove stress and tension from the situation. When you know what to expect and how to deal with anything that comes to light, you’re in better position to make the most of mediation while avoiding litigation.