Couples approaching a divorce often do so expecting emotional turmoil and costly expenses. However, choosing to participate in divorce mediation in Northern Virginia can reduce the emotional toll of divorce on both parties and reduce costs.
It is common for couples seeking a divorce to experience conflict over the terms of their separation. Under Virginia law, spouses must have a signed marital settlement agreement (AKA property settlement agreement or separation agreement) detailing the terms of their separation before a court can grant an uncontested divorce.
If a couple would like help with reaching a marital settlement agreement, they can turn to divorce mediation for assistance. Mediation focuses on providing a satisfactory result for both sides of the divorce through negotiations facilitated by an unbiased third party, the mediator.
You can expect divorce mediation to occur over a series of meetings with your spouse and the mediator in an informal setting. The beginning of the first meeting usually involves the mediator(s) outlining the mediation process, and, from there, the mediator(s) work to identify and help the divorcing couple to resolve the questions that need to be answered in their case, such as the division of property, child support, spousal support, a parenting schedule, etc.
At the conclusion of the mediation, provided you and your spouse resolve your issues, the mediator(s) will draft your marital settlement agreement, which, after you both have signed it, will allow you to file for an uncontested divorce with the Virginia circuit court in the county/city in which you live.
Any couple approaching divorce, provided their conflict level is not too high, should consider divorce mediation to reduce the cost, time, and stress involved in working on a divorce settlement.
Additionally, couples seeking to maintain a collaborative and better relationship post-divorce often choose to work through divorce mediation. Couples who undergo mediation are more likely to end their marriage on amicable terms.
Mediation, while centered on providing an acceptable result for both parties, can be confusing for the couple involved. Having an attorney to consult with before and after meditation sessions can help to reduce any confusion.
Your attorney will help walk you through the mediation process, explain what to expect during the negotiations, and provide valuable feedback on the marital settlement agreement details.
Undergoing divorce mediation comes with several benefits.
First and foremost, divorce mediation empowers couples to resolve their disputes instead of having a court rule upon those disagreements. Each party has the opportunity to identify issues they want resolved and work towards a mutual agreement.
As previously mentioned, divorce mediation typically reduces the stress and cost involved in the divorce process. This mutually beneficial process also bears a significant benefit for families by encouraging amicable co-parenting and by reducing the emotional duress of the divorce process.
Finally, divorce mediation is usually faster than going to court. Overall, mediation provides an easier, quicker path for both parties in most cases.
Whether or not mediation works for a divorcing couple depends on their situation, however, situations where mediation works usually have couples that:
- Want an amicable relationship post-divorce.
- Both parties agree to and desire the divorce.
- The marriage has no history of domestic violence.
- Both parties are open and transparent regarding finances, property, and custody desires.
Couples approach divorce mediation for different reasons. Whatever their reasons, couples who choose to pursue divorce mediation will most often find the process less daunting, easier, and more affordable than a divorce trial.