Divorce does not always have to be a “four letter” word. Sometimes couples acknowledge the end of their marriage amicably and wish to be divorced as easily and cost consciously as possible. These couples will invariably ask “can we mediate?” The answer depends.
For couples who have little if any assets; have roughly equal salaries; and who are mostly in agreement with regards to child custody and support, mediation can sometimes be a viable option. Parties split mediation fees and the mediator, often an attorney, can help draft a property settlement agreement that addresses all issues without the long struggle of a court battle.
It is important to note however that a mediator is a neutral third party who does not look after the best interests of either party. Therefore, if one party has more economic leverage- a higher salary, more retirement income, etc.,- that party can sometimes bully the other party into agreements that are less than fair, and the mediator does not advise the losing party of his or her lost rights.
Ultimately, the decision to mediate comes down to each couple’s specific circumstances, and an attorney should be consulted to advise on the various rights, interests, and responsibilities a party may be putting at stake in a mediation.
If you are interested in learning if mediation could be an option for you, please contact the attorneys at Winslow & McCurry at 804-423-1382 to set up a consultation today.