Is Mediation Right for Your Virginia Divorce?
By: John Whitbeck
Mediation can be an effective tool for expediting the divorce process in Virginia. It can also save you money and reduce your stress, helping your overall emotional state. However, mediation may not always be beneficial to your particular situation. When you retain a Virginia divorce attorney, he or she will help you through your divorce, including mediation.
How Mediation Works in a Virginia Divorce
The idea behind divorce mediation is for couples to work out their issues with a mediator as the neutral third party instead of a judge. During the mediation, the mediator will speak with each party individually about their issues and go back and forth to try and get both parties to compromise. Your Virginia divorce attorney will be there to make sure your interests are protected.
Why Should You Consider Mediation?
Numerous reasons could lead couples to choose divorce mediation rather than a traditional court trial or collaborative divorce. Some of the potential benefits of mediation can include:
- More Control Over Your Divorce: Since the process is meant to lead to a resolution and a neutral third-party is involved, you and your ex are the ones who are technically in control. Settling during mediation leaves both spouses with a settlement that they can be content with rather than rolling the dice with the family court judge.
- Reduces Time in Court: Opting for mediation can reduce the amount of time you need to spend in court. There is more flexibility because you can schedule the mediation around your obligations rather than being told to show up for a number of mandated court hearings.
- Saves Money: Costs in a contested divorce can add up quickly. With mediation, the entire process is more streamlined and will not take as long as waiting out a court trial. This will cut down on your overall legal expenses.
- Saves Familial Relationships: For some couples, mediation can help improve their relationship after the divorce. This is important if you have children together as you will be co-parenting.
When is Mediation Not the Best Option?
Every couple is different, and therefore every divorce is different. For some couples, mediation may not be the best option, despite the previously mentioned benefits. Some of the situations where mediation would not be ideal include:
- When a spouse is contesting the divorce itself;
- When a spouse is attempting to hide or liquidate assets, and he or she is not disclosing all their finances;
- When a spouse is emotionally or intellectually incapacitated; or
- When your spouse intimidated or abused you and/or your child.
These situations are ones that are better left up to a Virginia family court judge to decide. If you are preparing for a divorce or have been served with papers, you need your own lawyer who will look after your interests. To learn how our team can help you with your divorce case, contact WhitbeckBennett by calling 800-516-3964 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about divorce, visit our Divorce Law page.
Related: Divorce Law
John C. Whitbeck, Jr. is the founder of WhitbeckBennett. His practice focuses on family law, special education law, and mental health law. He regularly practices in several jurisdictions in the Northern Virginia area. He has also been certified as an expert witness in litigation.