ADR, or Alternative Dispute Resolution, is an informal procedure designed to reduce or eliminate the need for court proceedings by encouraging or requiring resolution of disputes, usually by counseling or mediation. In counseling, the parties jointly meet with a counselor to discuss their issues, and try to voluntarily come to an agreement on all or some issues. In mediation, the parties meet with a mediator who is trained to help people come to an agreement; the parties often sit in different rooms while the mediator goes back and forth with proposals and suggestions for a resolution. In arbitration, the arbitrator hears evidence from both sides, and then renders a decision which is binding on both parties unless one party appeals to the court.
When Is ADR Required?
Cases requiring mediation or some other form of ADR include Petitions to Modify Parenting Plans, and contested Relocation cases. ADR is required prior to a trial on relocation, custody, and visitation cases. It is also a precondition to filing a court motion to modify an existing parenting plan. Most parties choose mediation as their method of ADR.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is highly effective for resolving the difficult disputes in divorce and family law. In fact, Washington law requires that parties try out-of-court dispute resolution before contested cases can be set for trial. The mediator acts as a neutral third party to help you and your spouse or partner work through your custody and visitation disagreements. The goal is a negotiated, fair agreement that avoids litigation. A mediated solution is almost always quicker, less costly and less stressful than going to court. It allows you to control the outcome to a greater extent and it reduces future conflicts.
This AVVO Legal Guide is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney who wrote this Legal Guide, and no attorney-client confidentiality. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this Guide is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances described in your question. The applicable law and the appropriate advice may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For definitive legal advice you should independently consult an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your comment to this Legal Guide may be used for promotional or educational purposes. (C)Bruce Clement