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Divorce Mediation Virginia

Divorce Mediation Virginia


When undertaking the process of obtaining a divorce in Virginia, both spouses are encouraged to work as much as possible to prepare a mutually satisfactory written agreement to present to a family court for approval. In the best possible case scenario, simply by reaching an agreement between themselves a couple can prepare a separation plan covering such issues as:


• Alimony payments

• Child support payments

• Child custody arrangements

• Who is responsible for paying off jointly acquired debts

• How to divide mutually owned property

• Visitation rights


Couples who can prepare this document by themselves may apply for an “ore tenus” hearing. This means neither side has any objection to the divorce and has a plan ready for a judge to approve. However, sometimes a couple will agree on the necessity of creating such a document but cannot resolve their disputes without outside help. In such cases, a couple may decide it is worthwhile to split the costs of divorce mediation in Virginia.


In this state, agreeing to have a neutral third party attempt to resolve the differences between two spouses is an entirely voluntary process. While a judge may request that a couple attend an orientation hearing to be informed about the process of divorce mediation in Virginia, they cannot compel the spouses to appear at the meeting or commit to the process.


The Judicial Council of Virginia closely regulates anyone who offers their services as a mediator. Anyone who mediates between couples who have entered the family circuit system must have a bachelor’s degree or submit a request for a waiver explaining how their relevant life experience qualifies them for this task. Before committing to divorce mediation in Virginia, spouses may ask as many questions as they feel necessary about the educational background and experience level of any mediator. Though this person may be a lawyer, they are not required to be so. This means they cannot offer legal advice, but can only work to help both spouses negotiate.


This process can be customized extensively to meet the needs of both parties. Before a first meeting is scheduled, the mediator will generally call both spouses and ask them about the issues that need to be resolved. Establishing as much background as possible will help divorce mediation in Virginia be as efficient as possible. 


During this pre-meeting process, couples may decide that they are not comfortable being the same room as their spouse and request that both parties be in separate rooms. You may also decide that more than mediator is needed for the purposes of gender balance or for specialized expertise in a certain area of dispute. When two parties no longer live in the same area, divorce mediation in Virginia can be arranged to unfold through teleconferencing.


By committing to this voluntary process, couples give themselves the best possible chance of minimizing the costs of expense. While divorce mediation in Virginia may result in a flat fee or charges by the hour, these expenses will be far smaller than retaining the services of a private divorce attorney.