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MEDIATION

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At WhitbeckBennett, we understand that every family and divorce is unique. It is important to keep in mind that mediation is an option available to you as you seek to settle your divorce. Why go through long, stressful, and expensive litigation when you and your spouse can collaborate peacefully to resolve your case? In many instances, mediation is the best way to ensure a quicker, less contentious, and more affordable resolution to your divorce.

We have highly experienced and successful mediators who offer start-to-finish mediation for divorce cases, custody and visitation matters, spousal support disputes, child support cases, and any other family law matter you need assistance with settling.

The Benefits of Mediation

  • Less stress compared to litigation. Court hearings can be scary and stressful. Mediation resolves your divorce in the relative comfort of an office setting.
  • Control of your own settlement. In divorce litigation, a judge you have never met decides your case and therefore your family’s future. In mediation, you have the power to determine your own outcome.
  • Faster resolution of your case. Courts frequently move slowly. With mediation, you can move at your own pace, and parties can often resolve their case quicker using mediation than if they were to litigate it in court. 
  • Less expense by far. When you settle a case in mediation you can save thousands of dollars. 
  • Confidentiality for your situation. By law, mediation discussions cannot be used against you in court. And unlike court cases, mediations are private and not a matter of public record. 
  • Cooperation between spouses can lead to better future dealings between you and your ex-spouse and lessen the negative impact your divorce will have on your children.

The Mediation Process

Our firm starts the mediation process with a short phone call with each spouse separately to explain how mediation will proceed, answer any questions they may have, and discuss the costs of mediation. Prior to the mediation session, our mediator will send out a list of documents to bring to mediation so that everyone is fully aware of all the issues that need to be discussed. Our mediator will also identify issues unique to your divorce/family law case and advise you on what documents you need to bring that are relevant to custody, visitation, support, and division of property.

Mediation is generally conducted over multiple sessions, the frequency and number of which depends on the complexity of the case and the willingness of the parties to share information and work toward a compromise of their respective positions.

During each session, the mediator will help you reach agreements on all issues in your divorce. Your mediator will then draft the settlement agreement for you based on the agreements you reach. While it is preferable to settle all issues in mediation, if there are any issues that cannot be settled through mediation, a partial settlement may be reached. In this situation, the unresolved issues are reserved for the court to decide, while the mediator settles all resolved issues for you.

Generally, the following issues will be addressed in mediation:

  • Grounds for divorce
  • Division of property (both assets and debts)
  • Custody and visitation
  • Spousal support
  • Child support
  • Any other issues unique to your family.

Once the mediation is complete and an agreement is executed, the mediator will refer you to a local attorney who can help formally finalize the divorce.

 

Types of Mediation

Facilitative mediation is where the mediator helps facilitate the parties reaching an agreement without advising the parties on possible outcomes were the case to proceed to court.  While mediators can’t give the parties legal advice, they can make suggestions on how to structure settlements to the benefit of both parties without going into what a judge would do in their particular situation.

Evaluative mediation is only used if the parties specifically request it and if facilitative mediation looks to be unsuccessful.  In evaluative mediation, our mediator uses his/her experience to advise the parties on the possible outcome of each issue if the case were to be decided by the judge.  This is particularly effective when the parties are at an impasse over a particular issue.

Hybrid mediation is a combination of both facilitative and evaluative mediation.  In hybrid mediation, our mediator will try to facilitate an agreement on a particular issue and if the parties can’t settle it, then the mediator will weigh in with an opinion on what the court may do if the issue is decided by a judge. 

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"I would highly recommend John Whitbeck to anyone needing legal counsel or representation. He was thorough, intentional, and professional in all of my dealings with him. He is well respected in the legal community of Loudoun County and is well liked by friends and colleagues alike. He has worked diligently to build a fabulous reputation and proven his knowledge of the law through his diligent practice in the area. No man would be as highly respected and sought after if he didn’t have the experience and professionalism to back it up."

Amanda
Loudoun County, VA

"I have over 10 years experience personally with Mrs. Laffey and if you want the best of the best look no further. She is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in all fields of family law. She genuinely cares about your case and your situation and does whatever she can to improve it and do what is best for everyone involved. She is a fantastic mediator on all fronts especially dealing with other parties attorneys in the courtroom and with you personally. She is definitely an advocate for children and wants to see them happy healthy and growing through these trying times. She responds to any inquiries emails or phone calls with prompt attention and goes out of her way to find a solution for your particular case. She's extremely easy to engage with and you will not be disappointed with her services. I can not sing her praises enough. So if you want your case handled professionally proficiently and with a touch of TLC I highly recommend that you call her you won't regret your decision."

Deborah
Wilmington, DE

"My experience with WhitbeckBennett has been, and continues to be, extremely positive. My attorney, Mr. Beglis, has worked very hard for me. I can only wish that I had the sense to retain him for my Divorce, I would be in a completely different situation at this time! He is handling my custody issue. The level of comfort he has given me is worth everything to me. I truly feel like he is standing in front of me as a shield and his only function is to protect me and fight for me. This feeling, for me, is priceless. Thank you so much Mr. Beglis for giving me peace."

Ayesha
Leesburg, VA

"Amber Godfrey is a consummate perfectionist with a heart of gold and a passion for her clients. I highly recommend her and her firm for any family law matter."

Kevyn
Oklahoma City, OK

“Richard Tappan is one of the finest attorneys that you could have represent you...He went the extra mile and you can be assured this is just who he is...someone that will not let you down even though you are facing very difficult circumstances."

Matthew
Vienna, VA

“James (Jim) did an excellent job with my case! Whenever I had any questions, he responded to my inquiry the same day and always provided a clear explanation. He made a confusing and stressful situation very, very simple and my case was closed in less than 3 months—even during this pandemic! I absolutely recommend!"

J.
Leesburg, VA

Big News!

The Virginia Book on Family LawDid you know that we're releasing a book? That's right!

And here's the best part... You can download a chapter for FREE today!

We believe in making legal advice accessible to everyone, which is why we created this book. Think of it as an extension of our firm, answering the common questions everyone has in cases involving their family.

Are you ready for YOUR guide on how to protect what matters most?