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Family Mediation Lawyer in Washington State

What is Family Mediation

Family mediation gives people the ability to resolve family issues in a private setting with the help of an unbiased person. A common reason to seek mediation is a pending divorce, an undecided parenting plan or a possible legal separation. Mediation can be voluntary (chosen proactively by the parties) or involuntary (required by the court). In both cases, mediation gives people the opportunity to choose the best outcome for their family before a judge is forced to decide for them.

A family mediation typically takes one of two forms. It can be a shuttle mediation where the parties negotiate from separate rooms. Otherwise it can be a facilitative mediation where the participants sit at the same table and communicate face to face.

In a shuttle mediation, each participant has a room to themselves and the mediator will go between the rooms communicating for the parties. In most cases each person is joined by an attorney who will help them make decisions and evaluate the offers. The mediator will take a direct approach and often suggest solutions. Suggestions will be based on their experience and opinions on what a court would decide if given similar facts.

Facilitative mediation will begin with a short introduction from the mediator describing the process. Afterwards each person will have an opportunity to talk about why they chose to attend and what they hope to accomplish. Then discussions will begin, where the mediator will guide the conversation based on each person’s goals for the session. Solutions are typically provided by the participants only. At the end of the session, ideally agreements are reached and the mediator can later put that in writing.

Family Mediation for Privacy and Peace of Mind

Family mediation is often better than going to court in disputes concerning family relationships. This is because it offers a more tailored approach, allowing parties to focus on their own needs and those of any children involved. 

It can also help reduce conflict, encouraging open dialogue and constructive problem-solving rather than adversarial competition. Furthermore, family mediation is faster and less costly than other forms of dispute resolution such as litigation or arbitration.

This means that by choosing family mediation, parties are able to save time, money, and energy which would otherwise be spent reaching an agreement in court. Additionally, the process allows for greater privacy compared to other methods of dispute resolution—conversations in mediation remain confidential so that personal information cannot be publicly disclosed. 

Ultimately, a family mediator can help to build understanding and restore relationships while still resolving disputes in an effective, cost-efficient way. As such, it is often the better option for families who are facing difficult times and need to find a solution that works best for everyone involved.

Justin W. Aanenson, Attorney

Major Benefits of Family Mediation

Family mediation is a great tool to give you ownership over your family’s future.


Mediation is completely private. The details of your mediation will remain confidential, which means you’re free to be honest and discuss options.


The process can be tailored to the needs of each family and any issues that arise in relation to children.

Low Cost

Mediation is significantly cheaper than going to court, and faster too. Mediation is a fraction of the cost of a standard court proceeding. You can often resolve the issues in a day, letting you move on.

Improved Relationships

It encourages open dialogue between all parties so that agreements that are satisfactory for everyone can be reached.

In Your Control

Judges prefer that you decide what’s best for your family and mediation gives you that chance. You decide the outcome.

What to expect from Family Mediation

During a family mediation session expect to dig into the issues. It may not be the most pleasant conversation you ever have, but it can be incredibly productive. If done right, you’ll leave with an agreement in hand that you had a direct role in shaping.

If a person has a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against a child, or a crime involving violence they are permanently disqualified.

Similarly, a person will not pass the home study if they’ve been convicted of a physical assault, sex offense, or a felony not listed above in the past five years.

Preparing for mediation can make the difference between leaving the session with an agreement or work to do. If you have a mediation scheduled here are three things you can do to prepare.


First, gather information. You don’t want to waste time during mediation fact finding, so look up the information you’ll need to make decisions ahead of time. For example, if you’re dividing property find out the current value of your major assets. Similarly, if you’re working on child support check your bank and credit card statements for the monthly expenses you pay for the kids.
Second, once you’ve gone through the process of gathering information organize it and bring copies. If you’re in mediation you’re likely working through some big issues. If you have the facts handy not only will it help you stay focused on the big picture, but it can help your mediator and the other party.


Third, make time to brainstorm some solutions prior to the session. Spending thirty minutes writing down possible options not only puts you in the right mindset, but can give you a starting place for discussions. While you’re doing this try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You’ll make the biggest breakthroughs once you understand their perspective because it will allow you to problem solve for both of you.

Who can attend a family law mediation is up to the participants. Since mediations often involve personal issues and require open discussion to be successful it’s important that everyone is comfortable with the people in the room.


An outsider who comes to a mediation is referred to as a support person. The most common support person in mediation is an attorney. Attorneys are especially helpful in shuttle mediation, where the participants negotiate from different rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between them. They can be less helpful if the mediation is in one room, since they have a tendency to get too involved, which can sidetrack the participants. Other common support persons include parents, siblings, significant others and pastors.


Support persons can be very helpful in mediation, but at the same time they can derail all progress. If you’d like to bring someone it’s important to think about how they will assist you in the process. Remember to reach out to the other participant and your mediator prior to the session to ask for permission to bring someone.

Mediation is non-binding, which means that you aren’t required to leave the session with a resolution. If mediation fails the people have one of two options. They can drop the case and walk away. Otherwise they can take the dispute to court.


In Washington family disputes, most parties are required to mediate before they have a chance to go to trial. Court’s prefer, especially in family cases, for people to choose what’s best without court involvement. This is important to understand because even if your mediation fails, it is a required step in the legal process to get a final outcome.

We service clients all across Washington including places such as: Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Shoreline, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Renton, Lakewood, Federal Way, Tumwater, Lacey and South Bay.

Our three offices are located in Seattle, Olympia & Tacoma.

Testimonials & reviews

A family law firm that often settles out of court with "win, win" solutions for all involved. Resolve the matter instead of fighting in court where only the lawyers win.
Kate Winterbottom
Kate Winterbottom
Justin, the owner of Truce Law, is truly exceptional in every sense. His unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction and employee success sets him apart as a leader in the legal community. Justin goes above and beyond to ensure that each client receives personalized attention and support throughout the divorce or adoption process. His expertise in family law combined with his genuine empathy and understanding make him a trusted advocate for those navigating difficult life transitions. I would not hesitate to refer clients to Justin. Moreover, Justin's commitment to employee success is evident in the positive and supportive work environment he cultivates at Truce Law. By prioritizing the well-being and professional growth of his team, Justin ensures that every member is equipped to deliver exceptional service to clients. I have full confidence in Justin and his team to handle even the most complex family law matters with integrity, compassion, and skill. If you're seeking legal assistance for divorce or adoption, look no further than Justin and Truce Law. You'll be in the best hands possible.
Jeff Bloomfield
Jeff Bloomfield
The team at Truce Law are conscientious and dedicated to truly serving their clients well. I would not hesitate to recommend Truce Law for your Family Law Needs.
Dan Peterson
Dan Peterson
Breaking up is hard. I was an emotional wreck at times. The staff at Truce Law was compassionate and patient; they walked me through it. My opponent was vicious. Truce handled the negotiations with strength, competence, and dignity. Look no further.
David Singleton
David Singleton
Truce Law is simply the best! Divorce is never easy for anyone but having them on your side makes it a whole lot easier! The team was always prompt, communicative and always had my best interests in mind. 10/10!
Stefanie Arnold
Stefanie Arnold
Justin and staff were a great resource through my divorce, highly recommended
Hristiyan Kolev
Hristiyan Kolev
First of all I would like to thank to Justin for his great work! My case was not easy (don’t want to use the word ugly), but thanks to Justin and his team I manage to win the case and being able to be with my child once again which was the goal from the beginning. The process of the divorce took more than a year and he and his team were with me the whole time. Very patient, persistent and knowledgeable. I will always recommend his service. Good luck to everyone out there.
Russ Krause
Russ Krause
If you are looking for a friendly and knowledgeable as well as highly skilled legal team to help you through those family law issues that come up in life, then Truce Law is the place! Competent and friendly staff at all levels puts you at ease. Their rates are very competitive and they are always in communication with you to keep you on top of what they are doing. I highly recommend them to you.
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