Asked 4 months ago - Everett, WAFlag
Can a Dispute Resolution clause look something like this? (very basic rough idea of course)
1. If a change to the plan is requested and cannot be agreed to then mandatory mediation through a neutral family law mediator.
2. If there is an interpretation dispute over the current plan/order then before a parent can act unilaterally while in dispute that parent must:
2a. Consult with an attorney and have that attorney write a letter to the other party which clarifies their point and/or
2b. Motion the court for clarification.
If the other parent receives a letter from their attorney clarifying the interpretation and that parent still disagrees then that parent must motion for clarification.
Basically, I don't want alternative dispute resolution to be fixated on mediation.
Generally speaking, the parties can choose from a variety of clauses provided in the standard PP form that are agreeable to both parties, or draft a clause that is agreeable to both parties, and are given some degree of latitude by the Court to do so. The Court will generally encourage the parties to have some form of alternative dispute resolution plan included that takes place outside of Court to avoid repeated trips back to the courthouse.
Unless the Judge has ruled that dispute resolution must be through mediation prior to going back before the Court, or if there is a local court rule in your jurisdiction that dictates as much, the parties should be able to either select one of the many alternative dispute resolution options included on the standard form if they can agree on that, or draft some sort of reasonable alternative that is agreeable to both parties. If you are drafting your own clauses, however, it would be advisable to at least have a local family law attorney review the PP to see if they can spot any potential issues that may arise down the road. It's better to spend a bit of money up front to make sure the plan is clear and concise rather than continually going back to court or in front of a mediator to get clarification in the future.
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