You are under no obligation to come to an agreement. If you are not comfortabe with their proposals, don;t agree and go to trial. However, please be ware that if you do not have an attorney, going to trial will be very, very difficult becuase there are all sorets of court rules and procedures that must be followed. In Wa. state, Pro se parties (unrepresented persons) are held to the same standards as attorneys. “[T]he law does not distinguish between one who elects to conduct his or her own legal affairs and one who seeks assistance of counsel -- both are subject to the same procedural and substantive laws.” (Wherley) In re the Marriage of Olson, 69 Wn. App. 621, 626, 850 P.2d 527 (1993); In re Marriage of Wherley, 34 Wn. App. 344, 349, 661 P.2d 155, review denied, 100 Wn.2d 1013 (1983). This means that the Judge will expect you to know everything that an attorneys; ignorance of the law is no excuse and no defense if you make errors. So, keep that in in mind at the settlement conference -- can you litigate a custody case?
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You should schedule a free consultation with a good family attorney. It’s always best to consult with a good family law attorney to discuss the details before you act. See my AVVO Legal Guides on child custody cases and Alternative Dispute Resolution for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Legal Guides." Scroll down the list of my 29 Legal Guides and select the topics relevant to your question. If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful.”
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