The role of a Fairfax, Va. divorce mediation lawyer is to assist a couple in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding the disposition of their assets, the allocation of their debt, parenting, child support and expenses, and spousal support. When couples reach a voluntary agreement, which they have had an active role in creating, they, almost universally, experience less stress than couples who follow the traditional litigation route.  

At Kales & Kales, PLC, Amy and Jonathan Kales are not only experienced mediators, but they are also attorneys.  With their years of experience, they hope in every case to ease what can be a difficult transition for their clients, i.e., transition from life as a couple into life as single individuals.

By shifting their mindset and preparing in a few simple ways, divorcing couples can make the most out of their mediation sessions:

Set Aside Right vs Wrong

An important factor to understand in Virginia divorce mediation is that mediation looks forward and not backwards. By setting aside the need to be “right” or to make their partner “wrong,” couples can move onto determining what their lives will look like post-divorce.

In every divorce, there are factors which led to the dissolution of the marriage.  Many couples think that they need to prove that their partner is at fault or that they are entitled to a certain resolution. Although, as mediators, Amy & Jonathan Kales certainly understand it can be important to a party that they be heard, they also know how to direct the conversation to the future. The goal of mediation is to create an Agreement that is lasting and that each party can live with. By learning of the parties’ goals for the future, mediators are able to assist couples on focusing on the future and creating an Agreement that is win/win.

Determine Your Priorities

Whether it’s the division of assets or decisions about the children, prior to mediation, individuals should take some time to understand what their goals and priorities are. They should ask themselves:

  • What do I fear will happen if I don’t get this?
  • What do I hope will happen if I do get this?
  • Why is this interest or goal important to me?

So, for example, an individual may ask themselves if they want the house because of an emotional attachment, or maybe they want it to provide the children with stability? An individual may ask, “do I want the house for the short term or the long term?” “What assets might I be willing to compromise on to attain the asset I am prioritizing?”

Adopt a Collaborative Mindset

Adopt a collaborative mindset for the duration of the mediation. Remember the reason you’re working with a mediator during this time is because you want a solution that works for you both.

Temporarily setting aside the strong emotions which one naturally experiences during divorce can help couples move toward a future that benefits everyone.

Think Creatively

Part of the collaborative mindset is thinking creatively. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Lean on your mediator and, if necessary, outside resources for more ideas on what has worked for others.

The mediators at Kales & Kales, PLC have been in business together since 2004.  Be open to working together with them to come up with creative solutions. 

Set Yourself Up for Emotional Success

It’s likely that some triggering situations will come up during mediation. Come prepared for those feelings and set yourself up for success.

Take care of yourself prior to the meeting. Sleep well, eat a healthy meal, perform whatever calming practices you have, or create some new ones. Exercising the day before or the morning of can help take the edge off when you’re in a meeting. Remember to breathe.

Be Mindful of Your Partner

Each spouse handles the loss of a marriage and the grief associated with that differently. Be patient and try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes.

The partner who initiated the divorce may be tempted to rush the process. They may have a vision of their new life clear in their mind, but the other partner might still be coming to terms with the fact that the divorce is happening. Give each other time to process information.

Be Kind to Yourself

Mediated divorce should be peaceful, but it isn’t always easy. Allow yourself the space and time to process your emotions and make those important decisions.

Make sure you have support – therapists, family, friends, and clergy can be part of your support system. Make sure you give yourself space to relax before and after the meetings – you shouldn’t be rushing back and forth to work.  If relevant, plan for childcare and allow enough time prior to the session and after the session.

Small mindset shifts and planning can help make the mediation process productive and peaceful.

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