Mediation can be a great way for divorcing couples to work out their differences and reach an amicable resolution without arguing their issues in a public, costly, lengthy, and dramatic courtroom battle. When couples work with a divorce mediator, the mediator will guide the two spouses towards mutually beneficial agreements on issues such as property distribution, alimony, child custody arrangements, and visitation. While a mediator will not impose decisions on the couple during this process, the mediator is an impartial party with knowledge of the applicable law who can use his or her skills to craft and propose potential arrangements that both spouses can agree upon, while avoiding the aforementioned costs of a divorce trial. That said, there are some questions both spouses will want answered before coming to mediation to help increase the chances of a successful mediation.
What Will Be Your Monthly Budget After a Divorce?
Each spouse should do everything they can to create a realistic monthly budget for their needs after a divorce. For many couples, especially those who have lived together for a long time or where one spouse did not deal with finances, adjusting to the realities of handling their own budget after a divorce can be a rude awakening, and it is important to understand what you will need before you agree to a divorce settlement. In doing so, you will want to think about the cost of, among other things, paying your own rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance, child care costs (including child support), and loan repayments in comparison with your monthly income. By doing so, you can get a realistic picture of what alimony payments and property distribution goals you should have for the mediation.
What Issues Do You and Your Spouse Disagree On?
To the extent possible, you will want to know what issues you and your spouse actually agree on and what you disagree on, so you can focus the mediation sessions on the issues that count and increase your chances of agreement. For example, you or your spouse may have no interest in the expensive wedding china collection you have amassed, but determining what happens to the condominium you share might be your biggest point of contention.
On What Issues Are You Willing to Make Concessions?
Once you have determined the issues on which you and your spouse disagree, the next question to answer is whether you are willing to make concessions on those issues. The answer may be no, and for good reasons, but you do not want to be thinking about that for the first time during the pressure of the mediation session itself and end up making concessions that you later regret. Being willing to make concessions does not mean you will have to make those concessions, but will give you a better sense of what truly matters to you in the divorce and what issues are of less importance.
What Will Be the Cost of Going to a Divorce Trial?
Again, one of the major reasons mediation works is because it helps couples avoid the cost of a divorce trial. This can be both financial costs of attorney fees and court fees, as well as emotional costs of arguing in court and the time a trial can take. You should assess this full cost prior to mediation so that you can understand better whether making concessions in mediation is worth it.
Will You Be Represented By Your Own Attorney?
There is a misconception that people going into mediation do so without an attorney, but many couples work with an attorney in mediation. There are a multitude of reasons for doing so, but one of the most important reasons is that an attorney can advise you on how issues in contention would play out in court and thus recommend whether you should agree to a mediation agreement or press onward to trial. Furthermore, your attorney can assert your interests in a mediation and work towards a more favorable resolution.
Schedule a Consultation With a Virginia Family Law Attorney Today
At Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC in Fredericksburg, we will guide through all of your questions regarding mediation, and help you work towards a favorable outcome in your family law matter. To schedule a consultation with one of our Virginia family law attorneys, contact Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC at 540.642.1766.