For couples, a divorce is the most emotionally, financially, and legally difficult situation they will ever encounter. During a divorce, the decision to litigate or mediate is an important start to the process. Our experienced Fairfax mediation attorney is here to help you make an informed decision.
In a contested divorce proceeding, there are several options to consider at the outset: litigate, collaborate, or mediate. Each divorce is unique in its needs and it is vital that all parties involved enter the proceedings informed of both their rights and options. In litigation, a judge considers arguments made by both parties, evidence, previous cases, and statutes, and decides your case. The results in litigation can feel like a “winner take all” proposition – which may be attractive or unappealing to either one of the parties involved. The litigation process can also be costly, lengthy, and emotionally draining. In some cases, litigation is inevitable, and cannot be avoided. However, in many cases, there are other options.
A collaborative divorce is one in which the parties agree in advance that they will not go to court. They each have a specially trained collaborative attorney and those attorneys meet with the parties to create a comprehensive and equitable resolution to the marriage. Often this will include the consultation of outside support such as financial experts. Collaborative divorce is designed to help the parties retain control of their situation, and work together to reach an outcome they can both live with.
Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution approach where the parties, not the court, reach decisions about child custody, spousal support, and property division. Mediation presents an opportunity for the parties to negotiate more creatively, arriving at mutually beneficial resolutions. In mediation, both parties can make agreements that the courts do not have the flexibility to mandate, allowing for much more individualized resolutions. This can often minimize the impact of divorce on both the parties and their children. It is important for all parties involved in a mediated divorce to be fully informed of their legal rights and obligations. Consulting with an attorney at Curran Moher Weis regarding mediation enables you to make informed decisions. Our attorneys can mediate a divorce or attend the mediation on behalf of a client seeking support.
Many states have mediation requirements for divorce cases, meaning spouses are required by law to attend mediation. While Virginia does not have mandatory divorce mediation, this does not mean you won’t have to go through mediation.
In many cases, judges order spouses to go through mediation before engaging in litigation. Judges see the benefit of going through mediation and often prefer couples to do so, believing there may be the hope of reaching a resolution outside the courtroom. If an agreement cannot be reached through mediation, then the couples may proceed with litigation.
If a judge orders mediation for your case, our mediation attorneys are well-equipped and know how to represent you efficiently throughout the process.
Many believe mediation is only used when the divorce process is in full swing, but that’s not always the case. Mediation is useful at almost any point during a couple’s divorce.
You do not need to formally file for divorce with the court before you’re able to engage in mediation.
Filing for an uncontested divorce in Virginia requires couples to create a separation agreement that details their agreement on critical divorce issues. Sometimes, even with an uncontested divorce, couples hit a roadblock, finding it difficult to come to terms with every single topic. Mediation is a useful tool to help spouses finalize their separation agreement.
Whether or not a judge orders mediation for your divorce, you and your spouse can elect to go through the mediation process at any time before your case goes to trial. If you’re able to resolve your issues in mediation, you’ll avoid the need for trial and finalize your divorce sooner.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the end of a divorce doesn’t necessarily mean the end of all disputes. If you and your spouse face issues after your divorce is finalized, mediation can provide a path to a less contentious resolution.
There’s a reason mediation is so widely used in divorce and other types of civil cases. This type of alternative dispute resolution not only leads to successful resolution in many cases but also provides parties with a multitude of benefits.
Litigation is almost always stressful. Couples facing litigation experience more mental and emotional challenges, as it can be drawn-out, contentious, and traumatizing for everyone involved.
Mediation fosters a calm, collaborative environment. Instead of painfully seeking an agreement as spouse versus spouse, mediation allows the couple to reframe their way of thinking, making it spouses versus their problems.
Not only is litigation stressful – it’s costly.
Mediation gives the couple a chance to resolve their issues before going to trial. If the spouses can reach an agreement before their case goes to court, they eliminate the need for a trial, saving everyone time and money.
Divorce is difficult enough as it is without worrying about your issues becoming public.
Unlike trials that are open to the public and become part of the public record, mediation is private. Additionally, agreements reached during mediation are confidential.
When you and your spouse go through a trial, you’re relinquishing control and allowing the judge to make decisions affecting your lives and possibly the lives of your children.
Mediation puts the couple in control. It allows the spouses to work together and come up with solutions that work for everyone. You remain in control of your future.
Contentious divorce often results in fractured or severed relationships. Relationship preservation is one of the most important benefits of mediation, particularly for parents of minor children.
Because the mediation process is more relaxed and peaceful, emotions do not run as high as they do in litigation. Mediation is a gift for spouses interested in working together and maintaining a civil relationship for the future.
One look at mediation statistics, and it’s easy to understand why so many couples choose this route and judges find it beneficial in divorce.
Some of the most impressive statistics on divorce mediation include:
Mediation continues to increase in popularity due to its high success rate.
It’s worth discussing mediation as an alternative to litigation with your divorce lawyer. You can trust your divorce attorney to give you quality legal advice and lead you down the best road t resolution.
Whether you are seeking to litigate, collaborate, or mediate we can ensure that you understand your legal rights during your divorce. Our experienced Fairfax Divorce Mediation Lawyer from Curran Moher Weis can help you reach an agreement that best serves the long-term interests of you and your family. Contact us today at (571) 328-5020 or request a consultation.