Divorce Mediation Saves Money and Time, Reduces Conflict, and Provides Many Additional Benefits for Northern Virginia Families
Why family law mediation may be a better choice than a family law firm
Litigation in normal circumstances is a roll of the dice at best. Even with the best planning and the most aggressive divorce lawyers, the participants cannot control the outcome. If a judge is having a bad day, you can get a bad decision. Most judges care about what they do and work hard to reach a fair resolution within the parameters permitted by law (not whatever he/she believes is fair) but they also are limited by time, the limits of their jurisdictional authority, crowded dockets and the snippet of evidence they get in a few hours of testimony to learn about your family. Court cases are costly and time-consuming. Anyone who has been involved in litigation can you tell you that legal contests consume you day and night, emotionally, time wise and financially
At Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd., our divorce mediators have seen how fruitless and wasteful litigation can be, so we have established a mediation alternative. Our mediation service has many advantages over collaborative and traditional divorce in Virginia. Anyone contemplating divorce, or who was served with divorce papers, should speak to our interdisciplinary team of mediators as soon as possible. We can help you reach a fair, honest, and workable solution for you and your children.
Choosing mediation as opposed to a family law attorney
While there are a few disadvantages to family law mediation, such as the spouses simply may not be ready to talk to each other, the advantages are almost too numerous to count. Some of the many reasons couples should consider mediation are:
- Reduced costs. Litigation involves pleadings, counter-pleadings, court motions, discovery, and court hearings. Custody, child support, alimony, and equitable distribution can all require independent litigation. Many times, the spouse who has more money will try to use economic pressure to force a settlement, which, in turn, requires that lawyers litigate how the less financially secure spouse can be treated fairly. Even seemingly simple divorces can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Complicated divorces can cost more than $100,000 if every issue is contested to the fullest. In contrast, mediation can take just several sessions at significantly lower prices.
- Less time. All these motions, discovery requests, and hearings take time to schedule, time to prepare for, and time to actually try in court. Add in continuances and appeals, and an average divorce case can take more than a year to fully resolve. Mediation through the Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd. proceed at a quick pace — normally one session every 7-10 days. The parties normally can have a full agreement in 8-10 weeks. Then they can obtain an uncontested divorce promptly.
- A better solution for children. Just about the worst part of any contested divorce is the traumatic effect it has on the children. It’s bad enough the parents are getting divorced. The acrimony of contested divorce must have an impact on children. When the parties work together to forge solutions with our trained mediators they lessen the impact of the separation and divorce on the children. Mediation also helps the spouses craft custody/parenting agreements and visitation plans that properly balance everyone’s needs and responsibilities.
- Ability to address high-conflict cases. Mediation is especially useful in high-conflict cases because it lessens tensions, addresses conflicts in a mature manner, and allows for a full airing of each spouse’s frustrations.
- Ability to resolve high-asset cases. Our mediators work with financial professionals to properly disclose and value assets. We often can propose solutions to dividing assets that benefit both parties and also save taxes.
- More control and certainty. There is no need to rely on vague terms like “the best interest of the child” or what’s “equitable.” The spouses decide what agreement to reach — not a judge who, at best, only sees the spouses for a day and who often relies on written reports or one-time testimony to make decisions.
- Better crafted to the needs of the parties. Court ordered resolutions are usually fairly general and only address the key issues. Mediated agreements can provide as much detail and cover as many contingencies as the spouses desire.
- Confidentiality. Mediations are confidential, which allows for a more open discussion of issues and less interference from the press, relatives, or friends. Court hearings are generally public.
Practical benefits to mediation
There are many practical benefits to divorce mediation. These benefits include:
- An increased ability for the spouses and children to get along after the divorce because the focus was on resolution, not conflict.
- The spouses can talk about anything that can help resolve the family law issues.
- The spouses control the schedule of mediation sessions instead of having a court impose their schedule.
- Because the spouses negotiate the agreement, agreements are more stable and there is less need to go into court to enforce or modify them.
- The agreements are structured for your needs, with your particular circumstances in mind.
Once we determine the needs and desires of each party, we forge unique agreements which satisfy your family’s needs. We can often create value which in a court-imposed resolution would not be possible.
Make the call to learn about our Northern Virginia mediation services today
At Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd., you work with a multi-disciplinary team of mediators who help you forge innovative, customized agreements about your divorce. Our team has been helping Virginia couples cope with divorce by creating workable solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner. To learn how family law mediation can benefit you and your children, please call 703-665-7592 to speak with a divorce mediator or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment, where we can explain to you how the process works, and how it might benefit you, your spouse and your children in the long run.