LSPR 94.04.03 MANDATORY MEDIATION (a) Mediation in Contested Cases. Except as provided in Section (b) below, in all Family law petitions seeking dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity; and actions brought by parties to non-marital relationships involving parenting or distribution of assets/liabilities having unresolved issues, both parties shall in good faith engage in mediation with a court-approved mediator, Okanogan County Dispute Resolution Center, or licensed attorney in an effort to resolve the case. In cases where parenting issues exist, the mediation shall not occur until both parties have completed the parenting seminar. Mediation shall be completed at least thirty (30) days prior to the scheduled trial date. (b) When Mediation may not be required. Mediation shall not be required, but is encouraged, as provided in Section (a) in the following cases: (1) Good Cause. For good cause shown upon motion and approval by the court; or (2) Indigent. Upon determination of a party's indigence through procedures under GR 34 as implemented by the court; or (3) Domestic Violence. Where a Domestic Violence or Anti-Harassment order is currently in effect, involving the parties and/or their dependent children whether it exists pursuant to RCW 10.99 or RCW 26.50 or RCW 26.09.016. (c) Requests for Mediation. If not required under subsection (b) above, either party may by motion seek a court order requiring mediation if that party can demonstrate that it can be accomplished in a safe and reasonable manner. (d) Settlement Conference. If, after mediation in good faith or where mediation is not required, there remain unresolved issues, then a settlement conference may take place pursuant to LR 16(d). (e) Effect on Court Proceedings. Mediation does not stay or otherwise affect the rights and duties of the parties established by statute, court rule, or court order. The court may enter temporary orders and the parties may conduct discovery prior to or during the mediation process. (f) Cost of Mediation. Mediators shall be paid by the parties in accordance with the agreement of the parties, or in the absence of agreement, as determined in mediation. (g) Responsibility for Compliance. The parties shall be responsible for arranging for and completing all mediation requirements established under this rule. (h) Failure to Comply. Willful refusal to participate in mediation or willful delay in completing mediation or non-compliance may result in a finding of contempt and imposition of sanctions. (i) Approval of Mediators. Mediators performing mediation services pursuant to this rule must fulfill the minimum qualifications set forth in Appendix B. (j) Selection of Mediator. The parties shall agree on the mediator. If they cannot agree then each party shall submit a list of proposed mediators to the court. The court shall then select from the proposed mediators. A mediator has the right to decline to serve in a particular case. If a mediator declines to serve, the parties or the court shall select a different mediator, using the same selection process by which the preceding mediator was selected. (k) Authority of Mediator. The mediator has the authority to determine the time, place, manner, and duration of mediation. In appropriate cases, the mediator shall have the authority to terminate the mediation prior to completion. (l) Attendance at Mediation. The parties shall personally attend all mediation sessions, unless the mediator permits telephonic or other attendance. The mediator shall have the authority to require other persons to attend. (m) Declaration of Completion. Within seven (7) days of completion of mediation, a declaration that mediation has been completed shall be filed with the court by the mediator. The mediator shall advise counsel and the parties of the results of mediation in writing. The mediator shall advise the court only whether an agreement has been reached on some or all of the issues. (n) Confidentiality. The work product of the mediator and all communications during the mediation shall be privileged and confidential and not subject to compulsory disclosure. The mediator shall not appear to testify in any court proceedings. See RCW 5.60.070. Amended Effective September 1, 2013
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