Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The parenting plan has a section saying how you will solve future disagreements about it. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to ways of solving disagreements besides going to court. You can choose counseling, mediation, or arbitration. The court should not order ADR if any of these is true:
- RCW 26.09.191 applies to one parent, which is “Restrictions in temporary or permanent parenting plans.”
- The parents cannot take part in ADR equally.
- One parent cannot afford ADR.
In any of those cases, the parenting plan should just require you to go back to court over any future disagreements about the parenting plan.
If you choose counseling, you typically meet with a mental health professional who uses counseling techniques to help you solve your disagreement. If you choose mediation, you meet with a mediator, a neutral third party who may be a lawyer, retired judge, or mental health professional. The mediator tries to encourage you to come to an agreement. If you choose an arbitrator, you meet with a neutral third party (often a lawyer or retired judge) who tries to help you reach agreement, but who makes a decision you both must follow if you cannot agree. You can file a motion asking for a review of the arbitrator’s decision if you do not agree with it.
In most cases, you must pay for ADR. It can cost a lot. However, ADR can also help you avoid the stress/expense/unpredictability of going to court. Some people find ADR helpful.
→ Go to Agreement or Trial
Chad Foster is a trusted Washington lawyer serving Snohomish and King counties with an office in Bothell. Contact us today to discuss your legal issue.