What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process which is centered in problem-solving, building agreements, creating a win-win situation process, instead of just blaming each other.
Mediation in Virginia means the mediation of disputes in actions for divorce, annulment, establishment of paternity, child custody or visitation, or child or spousal support.
Mediation can be beneficial to people who are divorcing because it attempts to change a “win-lose” situation to a “win-win” situation.
Is Mediation Required in Virginia?
In general, mediation is not a requirement for divorce in Virginia, but in most cases, the judge orders the spouse to mediate first instead of going into litigation right away. This is primarily because mediation saves time and money, not just for the couple but also for the court.
How Much Does Mediation Cost in Virginia?
In Virginia, divorce mediation is free and costs absolutely nothing if it was deemed by a judge. The Commonwealth of Virginia has a fund to handle mediation costs.
Voluntary mediation on the other hand, costs about $200-$400 per hour. This cost will be shared between you and your spouse.
How Can a Mediator Help Me?
A mediator can assist you and your spouse reach an amicable settlement by working out your differences.
Is Mediation Legally Binding?
The mediation process is not legally binding. Both spouses can walk away from it at any point. But the idea is to bring about an agreement which could then result to a formal divorce agreement drawn up by the spouses’ attorneys in the end.
How Does Mediation Work?
Mediation is not therapy. Mediation is not law. Mediation is an educational process.
At the first session, the mediator will establish rules on how the spouses would communicate with each other. On the succeeding sessions, the mediator will guide the spouses on how they could end their marriage. They analyze the budgets, needs, wants, divide marital property, assess the children’s life and their future, and re-organize the family in a unique way that will be beneficial for all.
Mediation may enlighten both the spouses in such a way that they can see past the bitterness and rage brought upon by the marriage. This will guide them into deciding what is best for the family even after the divorce.
In the end, a mediator will draw a Memorandum of Agreement or a Memorandum of Understanding for both spouses. Such memorandums will be given to the attorneys of the spouses, who will then draw up a formal agreement between the spouses.
When is Mediation Not Recommended?
Majority of divorce cases may benefit from mediation but there are cases where the mediation process is not suitable:
1. When there is domestic violence
2. When there is history of manipulation by the other spouse
3. When mental health issues affect one spouse’s ability to comprehend and participate in a mediation
4. When there is a significantly imbalance of power between the spouses, e.g., where on spouse is financially dependent on the other
What If Mediation Does Not Work?
In cases where mediation does not work, the spouses are absolutely free to proceed to court for litigation.
To learn more about divorce and mediation, contact Virginia Divorce Attorney Tori Bramble at (540) 628-7340 today. Let us help you with your case. You may also visit www.bramblelawfirm.com for more information.