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The Advantages of Divorce Mediation
Mediation is a process that allows couples to take their marriages apart with a minimum of stress and expense. Which of these advantages is important to you?
CONTROL: You make the decisions, not a lawyer or a judge. You decide when to meet, how often and for how long. You decide what the issues are and how you want to resolve them. You can stop at any time, because mediation is voluntary.
CONFIDENTIALITY: All discussions are in private, rather than in open court. Only you, your spouse and your mediator know what is said in mediation.
CREATIVITY: Mediation allows you to make your settlement fit your family, rather than making your family try to fit the law. You can create parenting and financial agreements that would be beyond the powers of the court. For example, the "nesting" agreement for child custody (children remain in the home and the parents move in and out).
COST-EFFECTIVENESS: Because you are in control you know exactly how much you are spending. Your mediator can show you how to do things on your own (budgets, worksheets, schedules, etc.) and how to use mediation efficiently. A typical legal bill for litigation might be $10,000. For mediation you might spend only $500.
Every couple willing to work together to resolve their issues can benefit from trying mediation. If it doesn't work you can still go to court and litigate.
The Virginia court gives primary consideration to the best interests of the child in determining custody. The court assures minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents, when appropriate, and encourages parents to share in the responsibilities of rearing their children. In determining the best interests of a child, the court considers a variety of factors including the age, physical and mental condition of the child as well as each parent, the needs of the child, the role of each parent and the rapport of each parent, and the "willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child," family abuse, and "other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination."
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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