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GOURAS & AMIS P.L.L.C.

Information about Mediation

 

Many family law cases do not require litigation. The parties may agree on their own to resolve their disputes. Sometimes the parties require assistance to overcome the hurdles necessary to come to an agreement. When appropriate, the issues in a family law case may be resolved through alternative dispute resolution.

The dissolution statute, RCW 26.09, specifically permits mediation as an optional method to resolve family law disputes. RCW 26.09.015(1) provides that:

In any proceeding under this chapter, the matter may be set for mediation of the contested issues before or concurrent with the setting of the matter for hearing. The purpose of the mediation proceeding shall be to reduce acrimony which may exist between the parties and to develop an agreement assuring the child's close and continuing contact with both parents after the marriage or the domestic partnership is dissolved. The mediator shall use his or her best efforts to effect a settlement of the dispute.

Mediation proceedings are generally governed by RCW 7.07, The Uniform Mediation Act. Many discussions of the parties are privileged and are not subject to later disclosure to the court. There are exceptions, however, under The Uniform Mediation Act, the dissolution statute mediation provisions under RCW 26.09.015, and under court rules. The parties must seek the advice of their own attorney as to what issues are privileged and what issues are not privileged.

Many counties in Washington State require alternative dispute resolution. The King County Family Law Local Rules (KCLFLR), for example, provide as follows:

KCLFLR 16. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR).

  • (a) Alternative Dispute Resolution Required. Except in cases involving domestic violence, the parties in every case shall participate in a settlement conference, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution process conducted by a neutral third person no later than thirty (30) days before trial.
  • (b) Attendance at the Alternative Dispute Resolution Proceeding. All parties and their attorneys, if any, shall personally attend and participate in all alternative resolution proceedings and shall come prepared to discuss all unresolved issues.
  • (c) Required materials. Proposed final orders, a financial declaration and, if parenting is at issue, a proposed parenting plan, as well as any other materials requested by the neutral third person must be provided to the neutral third person and all parties no later than two (2) working days before the day scheduled for the conference. The materials are not to be filed with the Clerk. When the division of property or debt is at issue, the parties shall provide a table listing all their property and debt . . . .

The mediator does not represent either party to the proceeding. Each party must obtain legal advice from their own attorney. The mediator�s role is to help the parties find common ground and to assist the parties in reaching an agreement in their divorce and separation in a respectful and cost-effective manner.

Mark Gouras and Virginia Amis are partners in the family law firm of Gouras & Amis P.L.L.C. Both Mark and Virginia have decades of experience in family law and are available to assist parties to resolve their disputes through mediation. Mediation sessions may be booked as either half day or all day. Call 253-395-5552 for rates and availability.

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Gouras & Amis PLLC is a family law firm that practices exclusively in the area of family law. Gouras & Amis attorneys have over 25 years experience in both settling and litigating family law cases.

To schedule a consultation appointment
by e-mail, , or call 253-395-5552.


Gouras & Amis PLLC
Family Law Attorneys
Emphasizing difficult Family Law cases in the greater
Seattle-Tacoma, Washington area

Creekside at Centerpoint
Building One
20415 72nd Ave. S.,
Suite 420
Kent, Washington 98032

 
Phone (253) 395-5552 Fax (253) 395-1022
e-mail:

Top 100 Lawyers for Matrimonial and Family Law.
Who's Who in American Law
2000 — 2011

American Society of Legal Advocates
Top 100 Family Law Attorney Award