Understandably, many separating spouses fear that dissolving their marriage will be a contentious, expensive, and emotionally exhausting process. While many divorces can turn ugly, spouses who want to stay out of court can reach amicable settlements through mediation.
If you have questions about alternative dispute resolution, reach out to an experienced Virginia mediation lawyer. Because litigation can be damaging to not only the couple but also their families, our committed divorce attorneys can help you resolve your dispute peacefully and efficiently.
Common Issues in Divorce and Custody Mediation
Spouses often come to mediation with concerns about issues such as property division and alimony. Similarly, parents facing child-related disputes may need to address legal and physical custody. While these issues certainly can be managed, parties in mediation may discuss an even broader array of legal concerns, including:
- Structuring specific parenting plans, including holiday visitation and transportation for visitation
- Disposition of a family home
- Child support modification if a parent loses a job
- Health insurance coverage post-divorce
- Allocation of debt
- Filing of income taxes and management of child dependency exemptions
- Changing life insurance and retirement account beneficiaries
Because parties maintain control over their disputes, they have greater flexibility to address matters a judge does not have the authority to decide under current law. A dedicated attorney in Virginia can help identify all outstanding marital or custody issues and effectively negotiate them during the mediation process.
Why Choose Mediation?
Mediation is a process that allows both parties to identify, negotiate, and resolve any disputed issues by mutual agreement. Alternative dispute resolution offers numerous benefits compared to protracted court proceedings.
Greater Satisfaction with the Outcome
Few people ever want to revisit the terms of their divorce after it is finalized. In mediation, each party has an equal voice in resolving their dispute and can tailor the settlement to meet their family’s unique needs. As such, parties who mediate an agreement tend to be much more satisfied with the result than those who have a court order imposed on them after a contested trial.
One of the primary drawbacks of a contested divorce or custody case is the extensive cost. Litigation expenses, including court costs, deposition transcripts, and attorney’s fees can spiral out of control quickly when the parties cannot settle any issues themselves. Mediation provides a viable option to court proceedings by allowing the parties to better control the timing and the court’s involvement in resolving their case.
Children Fare Better Long-Term
Even when the parents don’t intend it, children put in the middle of their parents’ disputes suffer emotionally and behaviorally. Research consistently demonstrates that children whose parents are able to problem-solve their divorce or custody issues have a greater sense of happiness and emotional well-being. Additionally, by avoiding dragging each other down in court, parents are more capable of maintaining a civil relationship after the case is over, to their children’s benefit.
When couples choose to engage the services of a qualified third-party mediator, they have the opportunity to calmly and rationally discuss their issues and reach resolutions that meet their family’s needs. A mediator will establish firm ground rules and create an environment where each party can safely and openly bring their concerns to the table. A seasoned mediation lawyer in Virginia is well-versed in the dispute resolution process as well as in the selection of a trained, court-approved mediator.
Resolve Disputes with the Help of a Virginia Mediation Attorney
Given the high cost – emotionally and financially – of contested litigation, mediation may be the most effective way to resolve your divorce or custody dispute. By settling your legal matter civilly, you can save yourself and your family time, money, and the heartbreak of a lengthy court battle.
To learn more about the benefits mediation offers, contact a capable Virginia mediation lawyer. A member of our legal team can meet with you confidentially, discuss your goals and expectations, and help you navigate the alternative dispute resolution process.