The Benefits of Mediation During a Virginia Divorce
Getting divorced can take a major emotional and financial toll on those involved. If you are just beginning this process, you may have some serious concerns about how much it will cost and how long it will take. These concerns are well-founded, especially when you consider all of the costs that are associated with divorce litigation.
The good news is that there are ways to avoid a costly and lengthy court battle if the spouses can agree on an alternative to litigation. And one of the more popular ways to settle a divorce these days is through mediation.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is the process by which participants work out a dispute together with the help of a neutral, third-party mediator. In divorce mediation, the mediator might speak with each spouse individually in separate locations and go back and forth between them to try to work out a resolution (this process is commonly known as “caucusing”), or the spouses might be in the same room together. In some cases, a mediator might use a combination of both methods.
The spouses can choose to have their attorneys present during mediation to provide counsel and support or even to speak for them. Or they can attend the sessions without their attorneys if they feel comfortable doing it this way. Either way, they will rely on their attorneys to advise them and prepare them for the process.
It is important to note that divorce mediation is a voluntary process. The role of the mediator is to guide the discussion and move the parties toward a peaceable and workable settlement. However, the mediator has no authority to impose anything that both spouses do not agree to. Because the process is voluntary, there is no guarantee that it will end with an agreement – this is up to the participants.
What are the Advantages of Divorce Mediation in Virginia?
There are a number of potential benefits that divorce mediation offers:
- Less Expensive: As we touched on earlier, divorce litigation can get expensive. Mediation is a much more affordable alternative.
- Finish Sooner: Court calendars are often backlogged for several weeks or months. Mediation, on the other hand, can be scheduled and conducted whenever it is convenient for all participants. This can mean completing your divorce in a fraction of the time that it takes to litigate.
- Less Emotionally Draining: Divorce mediation is conducted in a cooperative setting in which the spouses are encouraged to work together to resolve their differences. This environment is highly preferable for many divorcing couples, because it is far less combative and emotionally taxing than litigation.
- Ability to Innovate: Mediation allows spouses to get creative and develop more customized resolutions that are tailored toward their specific needs. This type of outcome is far more difficult to achieve in a court setting.
- More Control Over the Outcome: With mediation, the spouses ultimately decide the outcome, which means they are more likely to come up with a divorce settlement that both sides are satisfied with.
- Confidentiality: With divorce mediation, spouses can keep their disputes between themselves. The details of the mediation sessions are kept private and confidential, and they never become part of the public court record. This is especially important for higher profile individuals who do not want details of their divorce showing up in the newspapers.
When is Divorce Mediation Not Recommended?
Mediation can be a great way to settle a divorce in Virginia, but it is not right for everyone. Remember, divorce mediation is a voluntary process, which means it requires a commitment on the part of both spouses to make it work. This does not mean that the spouses have to agree on everything, they just need to be willing to be flexible and willing to make some compromises in order to achieve a better overall outcome.
Some circumstances in which divorce mediation would probably not be the right approach include:
- When one of the spouses does not consent to the divorce.
- When one of the spouses is uncooperative and refuses to bend on any of the issues.
- When there is abuse that has occurred during the marriage.
- When one of the spouses has abandoned the other. (As an aside, remote/virtual mediation may still be possible if one spouse lives out of state, is in the military and stationed overseas, etc.)
- When one of the spouses is not being forthcoming with all of their finances.
- Other situations in which your attorney advises you not to mediate.
Facing a Divorce in Virginia? Buck, Toscano & Terezkerz for Assistance
If you are considering a divorce or you have been served with divorce papers, it is very important to retain experienced legal representation and to explore all of the options that are available to you. At Buck, Toscano & Terezkerz, we understand that this is a difficult and confusing time, and we are here to provide the clarity, legal guidance, and support that you need to help get you through it.
To get started, message us online or call our office today at (434) 977-7977 to schedule a personalized consultation with one of her attorneys. We look forward to serving you!