One of the most difficult disputes to resolve in a divorce in Virginia are those that pertain to child support, especially if the parents will have very different financial situations after the divorce is completed. One of the most helpful methods of avoiding this problem is mediation. Parties involved in a divorce often reject the possibility of mediation because they do not understand the process. In this post, we will provide some basic information about the mediation process in order to promote a broader understanding of what it entails.
As its name implies, “mediation” means the middle. A mediation undertaken during a divorce is an effort to help the parties by finding a mutually acceptable middle ground. The mediation process utilizes a trained mediator and the parties themselves to further these efforts.
Mediators are trained to listen carefully to the concerns of both parties and their attorneys. The mediator cannot make any decisions or rulings. Instead, the mediator is trained to suggest potential compromises to the parties. A mediator can point out the weaknesses or strengths of a party’s position on an issue, but the mediator cannot make a decision on the matter. The decision is left to the divorcing parties.
A mediation will yield nothing if the parties cannot agree on a solution. To foster productive negotiations, the parties are encouraged to make their arguments to the mediator and not to the other side. In this way, each party has the opportunity to express both an opinion and the emotion that may accompany it. The mediator can listen to each party and offer useful feedback that can help one or both parties understand how their position on the issue of child support is unrealistic or unfair. Or the mediator can help the other party understand a position that is fair to both sides. Therefore, the parties control the mediation but the conversation is guided by the mediator.
Anyone wishing to acquire additional information on mediation may wish to consult an experienced divorce attorney. One of these legal professionals can provide advice on the process and how to participate in it effectively.