Divorce Mediation in Fredericksburg
When two people are going through a divorce, typically there’s a lot of conflict. If there wasn’t conflict and disagreement, they wouldn’t be getting divorced. Getting through divorce and fighting for custody is an emotional process. You’ll have to make decisions about your soon-to-be-ex spouse about how and if you’ll share child custody, dividing your joint assets, child support amounts, and much more. Finding a solution to resolve your disagreements has to happen. For couples who want to keep their personal business private and resolve their disputes outside of court, divorce mediation in Fredericskburg can be a good option for you.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, which is any method of resolving disputes that fall outside of the official judicial process. In other words, mediation is a way for the parties in the dispute to come to their own agreement, on their own terms, with the help of an impartial third party. A mediator uses a range of techniques to open or improve the dialog, while remaining impartial. The mediator is not a judge, and does not make decisions for you. The two parties come to a decision through informed, detailed discussion. It is preferable to have a lawyer present in mediation during your Washington State divorce, because you and the other party will design and agree to a settlement based on what you know about your own situation, values, goals, and options. Your attorney has the experience to assess your options and advocate for your values and goals.
By definition, a mediator is impartial and doesn't represent the interests of either party. A mediator has no obligation to inform one party about a better possible option, because this may be considered unfair to the other party.
How Mediation Works
During mediation, a neutral third party works with the couple to resolve issues and make important decisions about divorce-related topics. Mediation intends to clarify issues in a safe environment and provides a way to negotiate disagreements and discover a solution together. The mediator does not make decisions regarding the case and only serves as a facilitator to help the parties reach a resolution on their own terms.
Three Major Steps Of The Divorce Mediation Process
Many people are familiar with how divorce litigation works – we’ve all seen movies and read books that contain divorce court drama. However, fewer people are familiar with the process of mediation – while some know that mediation is a way to talk through a divorce agreement with a neutral party, not many know the general steps of the process.
The First Meeting
During the initial consultation, the mediator will usually set the rules for future meetings and the couple will set general goals. Tasks will be assigned for future meetings and the couple will be asked to gather financial information. In most cases, the mediator and the couple will sign a general agreement for moving forward with the mediation process.
A Series of Sessions
Over the following weeks or months, couples will attend appointments with the mediator to discuss division of property, child custody, child visitation, and other aspects of the divorce agreement. The number and frequency of these meeting depend heavily on the two parties involved – how much time they need to gather information, how much time they need to consider options, and how easily it is for the couple to come to agreements. Some meetings may be scheduled between the mediator and an individual.
The Final Agreement
As the mediation sessions continue, the mediator will be noting agreements and drafting a final document outlining the couple’s decisions. A draft of this agreement will be reviewed by both parties, their attorneys, and the mediator before a final signed copy is sent to a judge for official approval.
Benefits of Mediation
There are many benefits of mediation. First, mediation definitely costs less than going to court to settle your disagreements in a courtroom. Second, you’ll benefit because you’ll avoid a judge making a decision for you. You’ll be in some control and will have a voice in making decisions about your future during the mediation process. Mediation is faster than going to court and you do it on your own time and terms because it’s flexible. It can allow you to avoid conflict with your co-parent that frequently happens during litigation. This is a win for your kids if you can achieve this through mediation.
How Can I Use Mediation For Divorce or Custody?
Some couples use mediation to resolve custody disagreements. A mediator isn’t a judge. Instead, a mediator encourages parents to focus on the child’s needs, rather than what they personally need. It can allow you and your spouse to share your opinions and concerns during the mediation process and work together to arrive at a solution you can both live with.
Learn More About How Mediation Can Benefit Your Children
Is Mediation Right For Us?
If you and your spouse are divorcing but don’t want to deal with a long, unnecessary, expensive court battle, then mediation might be the right choice for you. Divorce and custody battles can get ugly – fast. If you want to settle disputes and salvage the postive aspects of your relationship and avoid further conflict, then mediation might be right for you. This is very important to parents who want to spare their children a lengthy and stressful court battle, even if the child will never set foot in the courtroom.
Finding Mediation Services in Fredericksburg
You can find mediation services in Virginia through the courts and with private providers. Some Virginia courts order parties to mediate. This is free. Most mediation services address a wide range of conflicts, including divorce and custody. Some mediators offer mediation on a sliding scale while other charge a flat rate per session or an hourly rate. You should know that you don’t need a lawyer to mediate. But if you are concerned about signing agreements about high value assets or feel more comfortable with having an attorney look at, negotiate, and help you approve a document before agreeing to anything, you may choose to pursue mediation with the help of an attorney representing you.
Learn More About Choosing a Divorce Mediator
Three Secrets to a Successful Mediated Settlement in Virginia
Going into a mediation with an established atmosphere of mutual respect is key. If both people can be respectful, they’re free to work positively towards a mutually beneficial solution to your disputes.
Both parties have to learn to listen and to express their wants and positions during mediation. In an emotional situation like a divorce, it can be hard to communicate clearly. When emotion gets in the way, one person doesn’t truly hear the other party's anger or is so emotionally wrapped up they can’t properly say what their position is. Your lawyer can get your point across for you, help you to interpret what you’re soon to be ex spouse is really saying, and help you to express your needs and desires so they will understand where you’re coming from.
Chances are, you’re more likely to achieve your divorce and custody settlement goals when you have all of the information in front of you to make the right decision about you and your children’s future. Attorney Tori D. Bramble handles many cases in mediation. In fact, it’s her preferred resolution to difficult cases. She achieves the outcomes her clients want (even when they didn’t want to mediate or thought it would fail) because she knows the facts in the case, and because she gives her clients the information they need to make intelligent decisions.
Mediation is a wise option for resolving family law disputes, particularly when kids are involved. You and your ex-partner may be getting divorced, but you'll always be your children’s parents. This divorce is just a blip on your radar of your life. But your future interactions are more likely to go smoothly when the two of you are able to come to make the right decisions about your new co-parenting relationship, without a judge or a court order.
Commonly Asked Questions & Concerns About Mediation
We’ve generally discussed divorce mediation: what it’s like, who it’s best suited for, and how much it might save in costs. However, many people don’t know exactly what the mediation process will be like on a session-by-session basis. Let’s answer some common questions about what to expect at a mediation session.
Contact Our Fredericksburg Divorce Mediation Attorneys
While mediation can be a good way to resolve conflicts, sometimes it doesn’t work. Going through the process of an in-court divorce hearing is necessary at times. If you need legal help when it comes to filing your divorce, responding to divorce papers or a separation agreement or preparing for court, call the attorneys at the Bramble Law Firm. At the Bramble Law Firm, we know how painful, stressful and exhausting going through a divorce can be. We’ll do everything in our power to simplify your divorce case. If you have questions and concerns, don’t hesitate to call.