1. Attendance at the Mediation or Settlement Conference:
Each party and his/her counsel (if attorneys are participating) need to attend. If a party resides out of state, arrangements can be made for the party to participate by telephone. Other persons who may attend include a step-parent or spouse in post-dissolution matters re modification of a parenting plan or child support. No other persons may attend without advance notice and approval by the Mediator.
Each party (and his/her attorney, if attorneys are participating) will be in a separate conference room. Coffee, ice water, and light snacks are provided. Complementary wireless internet access is available. Attorneys and/or parties frequently bring a laptop so that they can access financial information or draft orders.
There is no dress code. Participants should dress comfortably.
Ms. Russell will meet with each party separately. There may be “down time” during a full day meeting when she is working in the other conference room, so participants are encouraged to bring a magazine or a book.
Opportunities will be provided for participants to take breaks for the rest room, to get lunch, or just take a break for fresh air.
3. Record of Proceedings:
There is no recording (audio or otherwise) of a Mediation or Settlement Conference. The Court Rules provide for mediation and settlement negotiations to be confidential to encourage parties to freely negotiate and be creative in trying to settle their issues. Any discussion among the mediator, party, and attorney can not be disclosed in Court.
In an Arbitration, parties and attorneys will have the option of having a record for an in-person arbitration. The record can be by audio tape or a court reporter. The Court reporter is provided at the expense of the parties.
4. Settlement Agreement:
When an agreement is reached which settles and resolves the issues, the agreement will be memorialized in written form known as a “CR2A Agreement.” CR2A is Civil Rule 2A which provides that a written agreement signed by the parties and attorneys (if attorneys are participating) is a fully enforceable and binding agreement under RCW 7.04A that will be enforced by a Court.