How to Go to Mediation for Divorce in VA


The divorce process can be quite an overwhelming and trying time for anyone. Even if you and your spouse are on good terms, walking through a divorce can stir up many emotions and questions. Instead of taking the litigation route in the court system, many couples choose to work through their divorce through mediation services. Knowing how to begin the process of mediation for divorce in VA is a great way to start healing and move forward. 

Step #1: Agree to Mediation With Your Spouse

The first step to an amicable divorce is to agree on mediation with your spouse. Divorce mediation is one option that you have when it comes to dissolving a marriage. While it is often used by couples hoping to have a better experience, mediation does include some requirements. Divorce mediation works best for those couples who are willing to work as a team to find the best solutions for each other and everyone involved.

Step #2: Hire an Experienced Divorce Mediator

As with any profession, there is a wide range of divorce mediators who work within the industry. It is important to research quality mediators in your area that have the knowledge and experience in helping couples go their separate ways. Divorce mediators like Donita King, who are also experienced lawyers, often provide a level of expertise that is quite helpful in a divorce. Be sure to check qualifications, look at their history and education, and ask friends and family members who have also had a successfully mediated divorce for recommended divorce mediators in your area. 

Step #3: Commit to Scheduled Sessions

It is important to schedule mediation sessions when it works for both you and your spouse. The only way to move through the divorce is to meet for mediation. If you don’t show up, then the process will likely lose momentum and might cause the process and negotiations to stall or get off track. Make sure to schedule mediation sessions during a time of day when you aren’t tired or bombarded with other pressing appointments. For those who have trouble meeting in-person, there are some mediators that offer virtual options to make it convenient. 

A husband and wife sit at a table and discuss their divorce with a young female mediator in VA

Step #4: Know What You Want

It is essential to come to every mediation session with clear objectives. Knowing what you want out of your divorce and how you want the future to look is a large part of a successful mediation for divorce in VA. Divorce involves determining a parenting plan and dividing assets that can get complicated rather quickly. Knowing what your top needs and priorities are in the divorce process can help you better understand yourself and accurately communicate that with your spouse. 

Step #5: Commit to Compromise

Many mediated divorces require more than one or two sessions, so it is vital to commit to compromise throughout the process. There are things that you may need to let go of to find a solution that works for both parties. Both spouses need to commit to compromise to ensure that the divorce mediation process runs smoothly. On those issues that arise where both spouses want the same thing, it is important to think about your priorities and consider if the issue is worth arguing over in the long run. For those spouses with children, it is even more important to commit to compromise for the good of the family.

Step #6: Be Open and Honest

Another key part of any mediated divorce is to be open and honest with each other. Mediation requires both parties to disclose their financial and personal information and assets. You must be accurate and truthful and “lay it all out on the table.” This could be tricky for some couples who have secrets, but it is vital for a successful mediation. A mediator who thinks that a spouse is hiding or trying to defraud the other party could end the mediation process.

Step #7: Be Respectful

Divorce often uproots many different emotions and feelings. However, it is important to remain respectful of your spouse through the divorce process. You may no longer love them or even like them, but remember that they were once a high priority to you. Respecting the other person not only makes a mediated divorce easier but also sets a standard and tone for the mediation that enables smoother discussions. It is important to keep in mind that to be able to demand and receive respect, one has to give respect.

Step #8: Don’t Involve Friends and Family

Any divorce is often attached to hurt feelings from the past that can span into other relationships. While your friends and family should always be supportive, they don’t need to know all of the details of your mediated divorce. Be wise about who you share with in order to protect your own thoughts and experience. Parents, siblings, and friends often have their own opinion, which may sway or confuse you in deciding what you really need from your divorce.

Choose Mediation for a Smoother Process

Ending your marriage through mediation for divorce in VA is a good option for those couples who want to work together for the common good. Talk over these steps with your spouse and agree on how to best handle your divorce. Choosing mediation for divorce, instead of litigation, can often lead to a much smoother process.

The law offices of Donita King offer both in-person and virtual divorce mediation sessions for your convenience. To learn more about divorce mediation or to hire an experienced divorce mediator, contact the law offices of Donita King today.

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Donita King

Ms. King is a member of the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and D.C. State Bars. She also serves as a University of Richmond School of Law Adjunct Professor of Mediation. She previously served on the Virginia Bar Association Joint ADR Council (2015 Chair), and served for several years on the Governor of Virginia’s Interagency Dispute Resolution Council. Ms. King currently serves as a board member of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board by appointment of the Virginia Supreme Court and has been active with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Women in Business as well. Se habla espanol.

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