When a couple cannot agree on the terms of their divorce, they can either go through the traditional means of litigating their divorce or opt for the alternative dispute resolution method of mediation. The purpose of divorce mediation is to find collaborative solutions to outstanding issues that will lead to an amicable agreement in the divorce settlement. There are many benefits to utilizing mediation in a Virginia divorce, but one of the most common questions asked before choosing to use mediation services is who pays for the mediation costs? Depending on your situation, there are a couple of different options for payment, and a divorce attorney in your area can help you figure out the best choice for you.
Who Pays for Mediation Services in Virginia?
As with many issues that arise during divorce negotiations, one common argument is over who will pay the costs of mediation services in a Virginia divorce. Although mediation typically is faster and cheaper than traditional litigation, there is still a cost associated with using mediation services.
There are a couple of options for paying for mediation that may work for you. The first option is to split the costs equally, 50/50. Each spouse pays for half of the cost of mediation. This option works best for spouses who both have jobs that pay relatively equally or enough that both spouses can cover the costs of mediation services without feeling overburdened.
The second option is to split the costs pro rata, or split proportionally along income lines. This option works best for couples in which one spouse makes considerably more than the other. This is often the case when the couple divorcing includes a spouse who is the only income earner and the other spouse stays at home to raise the children.
Why You Should Split the Costs of Mediation
For some people, it makes sense to have the higher-earning spouse cover the entire cost of the mediation in a Virginia divorce. However, this creates an ineffective incentive structure for the spouse who is not paying the bill. Mediators charge by the hour, so if one spouse is paying the costs, he or she has an incentive to settle as quickly as possible, whereas there is no financial incentive for the other spouse to settle quickly at all. By requiring both spouses to cover some part of the mediation costs, it incentivizes the couple to reach an amicable settlement as effectively and efficiently as possible in their divorce issues.
Talk to a Virginia Divorce Attorney Today
If you want to learn more about divorce mediation and whether it is right for your situation, a local Virginia divorce attorney can help. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.