Mediation and Arbitration Services in Washington State

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What Is Mediation?

Divorce | Custody | Litigation | Contracts | Probate | Real Estate

Mediation is a private process of negotiating the end of a dispute – outside of the courtroom. The Mediator is a neutral and impartial party whose primary role is to facilitate discussion, clarify issues, and identify common ground. Mediation is always cheaper, less adversarial, more flexible, faster, and more confidential than involving the court system. Unlike going before a Judge, the parties retain full control over the ultimate outcome.

Additionally, most jurisdictions in Washington require some sort of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before parties are allowed to proceed to trial. Finding a Mediator who you trust to oversee the process can mean the difference between an amicable settlement and a financially ruinous court battle.

What is Arbitration?

The Hemmat Law Group has over 35 years of experience helping clients resolve property division issues and establish custody, visitation, and support arrangements that work for them.

Arbitration, unlike Mediation, Arbitration is when parties agree to submit to binding adjudication in a dispute. Like hiring a private Judge.

While the parties are not in strict control of the outcome, Arbitration is still superior to traditional litigation because it is faster, more flexible, far cheaper, and off the public record. Sometimes, parties first mediate a majority of the dispute and then decide that binding arbitration is better than a protracted legal battle over the remainder. Or, sometimes, parties name an arbitrator to resolve future disputes after settling a case.

How The Mediation & Arbitration Process Works
in Washington State

Things you should know.

1. Dispute

Two parties are at odds. Maybe they disagree over the terms of a divorce, or one party alleges a contract has been breached. Whatever the circumstances, the parties have failed to reach a settlement at negotiations on their own. To commit to a protracted legal battle would be risky and expensive, so they turn to a professional to help with negotiations.

2. Agreement

Mediation is a voluntary process. Whether the parties ask to arbitrate or mediate, both must consent to work with their chosen professional mediator. Note that many courts will require parties to attempt ADR before a trial can proceed, so it is generally best to attempt sooner rather than later

3. Exchange

Once the parties agree to mediation, a mutually agreeable date is picked. Some time before (usually a week) the date, the parties will exchange relevant material – briefing both each other and the mediator about the history and context of the dispute, along with each side’s proposal to resolve it.

4. ADR

On the day of mediation neither party will interact with or see each other directly. They will be placed in separate rooms, and the only point of contact will be the mediator, who will travel back and forth between the parties attempting to understand and then settle the dispute.

5. Settlement

Over the course of the day, the mediator will attempt to craft a written settlement document defining the terms of the agreement. If successful, the parties will leave mediation with a Civil Rule 2A (CR2A) agreement, which is an out of court contract that can be enforced in court if a party breaches its terms.

6. Trial Avoided

If the parties mediated a dispute that was pending in court, the attorneys of each side will notify the court that the parties have agreed to a settlement and strike the pending trial. Final orders will be entered in accordance with the CR2A agreement.

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