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Separation & Divorce for Non-citizens
Half of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. Non-citizens are not immune -- if anything, they may be more vulnerable to marital problems than the average person. Visitors to this country face cultural stresses in addition to the usual personal conflicts of married couples, and are often without the support network they would have at home.
Litigation or Mediation?
In the traditional approach to divorce husband and wife both hired lawyers, who spoke to each other to negotiate the issues (child custody, child support, visitation rights, alimony and division of property). Anything not settled by negotiation was litigated, and the decision made by a judge. A litigated divorce is expensive, often resulting in legal fees in excess of $50,000 per person. Litigation is focused on the past, and on establishing fault or guilt in order to win. Many couples don't realize that there are alternatives to hiring lawyers and fighting it out in court. In the long run, a mediated divorce is generally preferable. When a couple can't work out issues by themselves a mediator can help. A mediator is a neutral third person who works with the couple to find mutually acceptable solutions to problems. Mediation is future oriented. The focus is on creating new parenting arrangements and new financial arrangements to replace the old ones. Mediation allows individuals to retain control of the process and the outcome by keeping the decision-making in their own hands. Matters may be resolved in a few sessions with the mediator, and at a much lower cost. The final paperwork to obtain the divorce can often be handled by the couple without any further expense, or by one attorney
Spouses in Virginia who are contesting child custody, visitation, or support must attend a parenting class. The court may also order attendance in uncontested cases.
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