Is Mediation Right for Your Divorce?
Mediate Fairfax LLC provides divorce mediation services in Town of Vienna, near the Fairfax County Courthouse and Tysons Corner. The initial orientation session is free of charge. In this free session, we explain the mediation process and help you decide if mediation is right for you.
Mediation is confidential and affordable. Sessions can be scheduled at times convenient to the parties. Lawyers do not need to be involved. The $250 hourly cost of mediation can be split between the parties.
Divorce and Relationship Mediation Services
We provide divorce mediation services for families dealing with: separation, divorce, child custody, parenting arrangements, child support and spousal support.
We also provide mediation services for disputes that involve parties with continuing relationships. Mediation is most effective when parties to a dispute have a desire to end the dispute amicably.
Mediation vs. the Courtroom or a Law Office
Mediation provides a safe, low stress alternative to a courtroom or law office. It is more of a conversation than a proceeding. It focuses on the future rather than the past. The parties talk about what they want to see happen and why, brainstorm options, negotiate differences and conclude on a mutually beneficial result.
The mediator will begin drafting the agreement as the parties reach agreement on the various issues. The agreement will be written in the words of the parties rather than legalese. Once signed it will be a legally binding agreement. While parties are encouraged and advised to have a lawyer review the agreement, a lawyer is not required. In fact, Fairfax County has a pro se package available on its website for parties who want to finalize a divorce with minimal involve of an attorney.
Divorce Mediation Process
In the case of a divorce, the parties to mediation will discuss each of the matters that are required for a divorce: division of assets, spousal support, and a parenting plan for children. They can also discuss other matters that are important to them such as preferred methods of communicating. The result of these discussions is a written Separation and Property Settlement Agreement. This Agreement will be the blueprint for the relationship between the parties during the six or twelve month separation period. At the conclusion of the separation period, this same agreement, unless modified, will be attached to the documents that are filed with the court to finalize the divorce.
Timing of Divorce Mediation
Ideally, divorce mediation occurs before or near the time the parties separate.
Separation strains the financial resources of a family. Maintaining two households is more expensive than maintaining one. Early mediation allows the parties to discuss financial arrangements during the separation and begin to divide their joint assets.
Separation is a stressful time for children. Early mediation provides an opportunity to discuss all aspects of the parenting plan, including how they will tell the children about the separation. In this way, disruption to the lives of children may be minimized.
Separation is a time of uncertainty. Sometimes navigating day-to-day uncertainties will require communication. Early mediation will allow the parties to thoroughly discuss problems that may arise during the separation and to come up with a plan for how to address unexpected problems.
The goal of early mediation is for the parties to feel confident they will be financially secure during the separation, confident they will be able to co-parent their children effectively, and confident they will be able to work out day-to-day differences themselves.
For the financial and emotional welfare of all parties, mediation is almost always the best place to start the discussion about the financial and co-parenting arrangements during the separation and after the divorce.
Problems with the Litigated Divorce
By contrast, in a litigated divorce, parties often stop talking to each other and instead convey information through their lawyers or in court filings. In the best of circumstances, the litigated divorce is a difficult and expensive process. It’s a process that often leaves the parties emotionally and financially drained. They are unable to communicate and co-parent effectively. Children feel caught in the middle and may have emotional problems. Day-to-day problems have to be resolved through the lawyers or court filings rather than discussions between the parties. Decisions are in the hands of lawyers and judges rather than the parties.
Our mediator, Patricia C. Anderson (“Pat”), is certified by the Virginia Supreme Court to provide facilitative mediation. Facilitative mediation puts the parties, not a judge or attorney, in charge of what happens. In facilitative mediation, the mediator is a neutral third party who helps the parties discuss issues they are concerned about. The mediator’s role is to guide the parties through the types of matters that are typically considered in a divorce. Contact us for an appointment if you are interested in learning more.