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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.

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Virginia is an equitable distribution state, which means if the spouses don't agree, the marital estate will be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. In dividing property the court considers the contributions, both "monetary and non-monetary," of each spouse, the duration of the marriage, the ages and conditions of each spouse, how marital property was acquired, the debts and liabilities of each spouse, tax consequences, dissipation, the "character of all marital property," and "other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award."
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