Divorce is never easy. It can be emotionally challenging and expensive at the same time. In some cases, mediation may reduce conflict and assist the parties in reaching settlement of the issues which arise from the dissolution of their marriage.
Mediation can allow divorcing couples to avoid prolonged court battles and the hostility which is often present in litigated cases. Working with third party neutral mediators is a cost-effective option that can save couples time and relieve stress.
Here’s a look at the four-step process Virginia courts use for dividing property:
- Identify the assets.
- Determine the value of the assets.
- Classify the assets, i.e., is the asset marital property, separate property, or is it part-marital and part-separate?
- Equitably distribute marital assets between the spouses based on the factors detailed in Virginia Code § 20-107.3(E).
At Kales & Kales, understanding this, here are some things we typically discuss during a Virginia divorce mediation:
- Has the couple determined a general philosophy about how their assets/debts will be divided? For example, has the couple agreed to divide their assets 50/50 or by some other proportion? Has the couple decided they will each retain the assets which are titled in their individual names?
- We will help you identify and classify your assets. First, we’ll identify your assets, for example, real estate, retirement, deposit accounts, etc. Then, we’ll help you classify your assets, marital, separate, or hybrid. If applicable to your situation the mediators at Kales & Kales may discuss more complicated issues of law when it comes to asset division, including the coverture fraction that is used in determining the marital share of pensions; or the application of the Brandenburg formula, which is often used to determine separate and marital portions of hybrid property.
- We’ll discuss the difference between the equal division and equitable division of marital property. If it’s helpful in reaching settlement, we may discuss the parties’ monetary and nonmonetary contributions to the marriage, the duration of the marriage, and factors contributing to the breakdown of the marriage, as well as the other factors listed in § 20-107.3.
Mediation with the skilled mediators at Kales & Kales provides a safe environment for divorcing couples to explore their options and make informed decisions regarding the division of their property, as well as all other issues that need to be settled to obtain a Virginia uncontested divorce, rather than having the court make these decisions. Additionally, mediation is generally less expensive, less emotionally taxing, and less time consuming than litigating a divorce.