Divorce mediation can be an important part of the divorce process. Also known as a “collaborative divorce,” divorce mediation may also benefit spouses in high-conflict situations. Divorce is an emotional process, and during the separation period, you’ll go through emotional highs and lows. Although sadness, grief and anger are all healthy emotions and can signal the beginning of the healing process, too much anger can be very unhealthy and work against you.
Most soon-to-be divorced spouses will benefit from therapy, and you can find incredible emotional support from your therapist, your family and your friends. Anger can also work against you during divorce because you may not make the best legal decisions.
Divorce mediators can help two angry spouses reach a mutually acceptable agreement as to custody, visitation and property. Here are the top five things you need to know about divorce mediation:
1. A mediator is not a judge. If you don’t like your mediator’s suggestions, or you feel that mediation is not helping you, you can terminate your mediator or find a new one. If you and your spouse reach an agreement that is acceptable to both of you, your mediator will help you draft the agreement. Only an attorney or judge can incorporate the terms of that agreement into a legally binding one.
2. Mediators typically undergo specialized training. Divorce mediators must receive special certification to take court referrals, but each mediator’s level of experience, training and type of certification may vary.
3. A mediator is a neutral party and doesn’t represent you or your spouse’s legal interests.
4. Even though you have a mediator, you should still retain an attorney to represent your best interests. Because your mediator is neutral and impartial (see Number 3, above), you should hire a divorce attorney to look over the terms of your divorce settlement agreement to make sure it represents your best interests.
5. Mediators can help you reach mutually acceptable solutions to living arrangements, custody, spousal support or alimony, child support and visitation.
The Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section publishes an informative free brochure, “Divorce in Virginia.” You can access it here.
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If you’re looking for a Virginia divorce attorney, contact Keithley Law, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office.
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