In Richmond, VA, choosing the right kind of divorce mediator is essential when you hope to separate amicably from your spouse. There are plenty of mediators and lawyers who work with divorcing couples. However, not all of these professionals are the same. While some will state that they have the experience, it is important to interview and ask the divorce mediator about their work in the field. Here are some of the top questions to ask a qualified divorce mediator:
1. Are you a certified mediator in the state of Virginia?
Quality mediators will be able to answer this question and show you their credentials. Certification in Virginia involves training in the area along with a mentorship where they learned how to mediate divorce cases. An experienced family lawyer who is also a certified mediator has the added skill, expertise, and experience in Family law and the court system as well. Choosing a Virginia certified divorce mediator in Richmond ensures that the person is qualified and specially trained in mediation.
2. As a divorce mediator in Richmond, VA, how many family cases have you handled like mine?
Experience is vital when walking through a divorce. Some mediators have mediation skills in connection with other cases, but may not be as familiar with your issues. This unfamiliarity with your kind of case can limit the mediator’s ability to help you brainstorm and avoid or overcome an impasse. Hiring a divorce mediator with experience is important to a successful mediation.
3. Do I have to have a lawyer?
No, divorcing couples are not required to have a lawyer during divorce mediation. However, some complex cases would benefit from having a lawyer present for each party. Lawyers can help answer legal questions during the mediation and speak for you if needed.
If your divorce mediator is also a family lawyer, they can not act on either party’s behalf. However, they can give insight into different laws and how the court has ruled in other cases.
4. Do you give legal advice?
Divorce mediators cannot give legal advice, even if the mediator is also a lawyer. Lawyer Mediators can give the parties legal information that may help clarify issues and assist the parties in reaching an agreement. Mediators should help both parties communicate and ask questions to help each side understand the other.
5. Can you file for us?
Divorce mediators cannot file divorce paperwork to the court. As a divorce mediator who is also a family lawyer, Donita King can help couples by preparing agreements that will more likely be acceptable to the Courts when filed by the parties or their attorneys.
6. What are your costs?
As with most professional services, divorce mediators are paid on an hourly basis. While every mediation case is different, divorce mediation on average takes about two sessions, with each session lasting about two hours. Then there is the same hourly cost for drafting the Agreement, which will be a comprehensive document containing the terms of the divorce decree when filed. For more information about our mediation costs, please contact our office today.
7. How does the mediation process work?
The first step to divorce mediation is to speak with your spouse. If they are willing to sit down and work on a mutual agreement, divorce mediation is a good choice. Then, you can schedule a consultation with Donita to speak about your mediation needs in order to move forward. Once it has been determined that mediation is a good fit, you will be informed of what documentation and information you need to bring to the table for the mediation session. When you have the information ready, you will then schedule a mediation session with Donita that is convenient for both you and your spouse. Both in-office and online mediations are now available.
8. What kind of timeline can I expect?
The process of divorce does take longer than some may think. For divorce mediations, it all depends on the availability of sessions as well as the time it takes to come to a mutual agreement. Most mediation sessions are scheduled according to the parties’ availability, proposed timeline, and budget. Again, your case could only require one or two sessions, while others may require more.
9. What if my spouse does not agree?
Divorce mediations rely solely on both parties coming to a mutual agreement. A good mediator will assist the parties to overcome the impasse, but if that doesn’t work, the mediation must cease and the parties will more likely have to move on to litigation.
10. Can you be a witness if something goes wrong?
Mediation is confidential. The court cannot require a mediator to appear as a witness and a mediator’s notes are not available to the parties or the court. A mediator is only required to report instances of child abuse or neglect. There are other exceptions to confidentiality in Virginia, but the only one mandated by the court is child abuse and neglect.