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Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Mediation in Virginia

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Mediation in Virginia

Just because you and your spouse have decided to go separate ways, your marriage does not have to end in a messy, litigated brawl. Mediation is an opportunity to problem-solve together, because the end of your marriage does not mean the end of your relationship – especially if you have children together. A form of alternative dispute resolution, mediation offers divorcing couples a constructive way to work through their differences and forge an agreement which will allow them to get on with their lives, and maintain a civil relationship in the days to come. Too, it allows you and your spouse, with the help of our mediators, to decide on a result and your future instead of a judge who only gets a glimpse of the circumstances about you and your family.

Many people have misconceptions about what mediation is, what it can accomplish and in which situations it is the most effective. Here are eight of the questions we hear from new clients about divorce mediation in Virginia:

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is a process which provides the opportunity for a divorcing couple to come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce under the guidance of a neutral third party, which is the mediator. At Divorce Mediation Associates, you work with a team of qualified professionals who help you and your spouse reach a resolution that suits your specific needs, so that both parties can feel secure and happy with the plan.

Are we required to go through mediation for divorce in Virginia?

No. Mediation is voluntary in Virginia, but it is far less expensive, emotionally and financially than litigation.

How is working with a mediator different from working with a divorce lawyer?

Divorce mediators work with both spouses; divorce lawyers only represent the interests of the person who hired them. As such, a mediator will promote compromise between both parties, and to work towards a resolution that helps both parties. A divorce lawyer, on the other hand, is only concerned with what his or her client wants. This is not necessarily a bad thing, of course; however, a mediator looks at what benefits everyone the most, whereas a lawyer only advocates on behalf of one party.

What can I expect from the divorce mediation process?

You can expect that you and your spouse will work with trained mediators to work through the obstacles that stand in the way of your reaching a settlement. When necessary, we may bring in other professionals such as financial experts, tax planners and mental health experts to arrive at a workable solution for both parties and in the best interest of any children involved.

What role does the mediator play in divorce mediation?

The mediator plays the part of the neutral third party. They facilitate the negotiation process, but the couple makes all the decisions. You should know, however, that our mediators do not act as lawyers for either party. Our mediators “represent” both parties equally and therefore can show no bias in favor of one over the other.

Is mediation less expensive than litigation?

Generally speaking, yes. The costs associated with mediation are determined by the number of sessions you and your spouse need, and what outside experts are engaged. Litigation can cost tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even for the most complex cases, mediation will be much less expensive than a litigated divorce.

My spouse and I can’t seem to be in the same room without arguing. Can we still use mediation?

Yes, you can. The mediator is trained to handle disputes among parties who do not agree on much of anything going into mediation. If each of you is willing, the mediation might even help you find more constructive ways of relating to each other. Often, our clients find that their divorce attorneys are less likely to encourage this type of coming-together, even inadvertently, which can exacerbate an already tense situation.

Our high net-worth divorce is complicated. Will mediation work for us?

Whether you own businesses, foreign real estate holdings, investment and retirement accounts, have tax challenges, and expect to face child custody disputes, Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd., has more than 38 years of experience guiding couples and families through the process of mediation. We can facilitate a workable solution for you regardless of the complexity of the marital estate. In fact, high net worth families have greater options and a greater chance of adding value through the mediation process.

At Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd., we are dedicated to supporting couples in reaching functional and workable solutions for all parties. It is our intention that you would feel empowered as you resolve your divorce constructively and in a positive way. You are invited to contact us for answers to your questions. Learn how our divorce mediators might be the right choice for your family by calling us at 703-665-7592 or utilizing our contact form.