Susan S. Williams
A Fredericksburg, VA area Family Lawyer and Divorce Lawyer
Fredericksburg, VA - King George, VA - Westmoreland, VA

Divorce Mediation

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process used to help people reach an agreement out of court.  In facilitative mediation a neutral, trained mediator works directly with those involved to discuss the conflict, to explore possible options for settlement, and to identify solutions that meet the needs of each person involved.

When can Divorce Mediation be done?

Divorce Mediation can take place at any stage, but I believe the earlier the better.  When people make a decision to divorce, they are at a critical point.  Before any money is spent, or any commitment is made by either person to work with a particular attorney, the benefits of mediation should be considered.  If mediation sounds like a good fit, both people can then seek out attorneys who are  supportive of mediation to consult with them and advise them as to their specific situations.  I believe that this approach can lead to peaceful, personal and private solutions that most often save time, money and stress.

If mediation is not considered until later in the process, there may have been significant time and money spent without reaching agreement and emotions can run very high.  Chances for reaching a peaceful agreement may have diminished, and the likelihood of having to resolve the case either through an expensive trial in court or late stage evaluative mediation is higher.

Are the attorneys present during Mediation?

For facilitative mediation, attorneys typically  meet with their individual clients outside of the mediation sessions and provide advice as to the options the client may want to consider for settlement and the range of possible legal outcomes if the case does not settle at mediation.  The discussions leading to an agreement take place between the parties themselves under the guidance of the mediator without the attorneys being present during the discussions.  This helps to keep the costs down.  At the end of the mediation, attorneys should review any written agreement prior to finalization to assure that the language used captures the terms as agreed.

I can be either your mediator or your attorney; I cannot be both since the mediator must always be a neutral third party.  As your mediator, I would meet with all parties and conduct the mediation sessions.  As your attorney, I would refer you to another mediator and serve as your guide and legal advisor through the process.

Is Divorce Mediation right for me?

Divorce Mediation is not generally appropriate in situations involving domestic violence or child abuse or where there are serious concerns about the children’s safety with the other parent.  It is also not appropriate if one of the parties has significant drug, alcohol or mental health problems. 

In mediation both parties must be able to speak up for themselves and make their own decisions.  While it is not necessary that both have equal knowledge of the finances, in fact they rarely do, each must be able to understand what he or she needs to know to come to a decision, and be able to ask for that information from the other. 

Collaborative Divorce would be a better choice if one of the parties is not comfortable with speaking up and asking for information or finds it difficult to understand the information when it is provided.

What does Divorce Mediation cost?

If I am acting as your attorney I will charge my normal hourly rate of $300.  If I am the mediator for you and the other party, the hourly charge is split between the two of you, so each of you would pay $150 per hour. 

How long does Divorce Mediation take?

Sessions typically last for 2 to 3 hours and can be scheduled to accommodate your other obligations.  A total of 4 sessions is often enough to resolve all the issues, but every dispute is different and it may take a greater or shorter amount of time depending on the people and issues involved.

For more information

To make an appointment to discuss your case, give me a call at (540) 775-9710 or send me an email.

CONTACT OUR OFFICE

9362 Kings Highway
P.O. Box 469
King George, VA 22485

Phone (540) 775-9710

Fax (540) 775-4907

info@kgfamilylawyer.com

 

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to many of the common questions about Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

Download this one-page comparison and discover if mediation or collaborative are right for you

©2010 Susan S. Williams, King George, VA
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