Common Mediation Questions
Below, we have compiled a list of important questions and answers regarding your options for settling a dispute outside of court.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is an out-of-court process used to resolve family conflicts in which parties identify what is important to them, discuss options, and determine their own outcomes. A mediator helps guide the parties through this process, typically ending in a comprehensive written settlement agreement. Our Northern Virginia divorce mediation lawyer from Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C., can help you with this process.
Why should I consider mediation for my divorce or post-divorce conflict?
Mediation allows couples to work through sometimes difficult custody, support and property division issues. It avoids the expense, stress and uncertainty of a judge deciding your family issues in a highly-structured environment. Mediation allows the parties to informally craft their own solutions instead of turning over important decisions to a virtual stranger. Couples who successfully mediate their disputes rather than presenting the issues to a judge have ownership over the solutions and are more likely to abide by the agreements that they reach so that they can move past their disputes, especially when children are involved.
How long does the process take?
Every case varies. Typically, mediation will take between three and five sessions. Some can be shorter and some can be longer depending on the number of issues and degree of conflict between the parties. Mediation sessions generally take two to three hours per session, and couples are generally given tasks to complete between sessions to ensure that the time can be used efficiently once they meet with the mediator again.
Who will be the mediator?
Attorney Brian Hirsch is certified in family mediation with the Virginia Supreme Court and has practiced family law since 1985. Brian is a highly skilled and knowledgeable Northern Virginia divorce mediation attorney. Though our office is located in Fairfax County, Brian has experience mediating cases for couples living in Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Arlington County and Alexandria City. His experience as a family law litigator in the courts of Northern Virginia allows him to provide insight for couples as needed while guiding them through the mediation process to find the solutions that best meet their families’ needs.
Is mediation confidential?
Yes, mediation is a confidential process. This allows the parties freedom in discussing options without the fear that it will later be brought up in court.
If we mediate all of our issues, do we still need to go to court?
If you have a comprehensive mediated settlement agreement, you can avoid going to court. You may have to finalize your divorce or incorporate the settlement agreement into an order of the court, but this is a fairly administrative process. Mediated agreements are accepted throughout Virginia, including all Northern Virginia courts. Our skilled Northern Virginia divorce mediation attorney can help you draft a comprehensive agreement that best suits your interests.
Do I still need a lawyer?
Mediation is not a substitute for you receiving independent legal advice, and independent legal counsel is encouraged. However, your lawyer’s involvement in mediation is typically far less than if the matters were fully negotiated or litigated.
Can the mediator file for divorce for me once we have a settlement agreement?
No, the mediator cannot file for divorce for you. Your lawyer or your spouse’s lawyer will need to do this. However, the divorce process is vastly simpler if you already have a comprehensive mediated settlement agreement and typically does not involve any court appearances
Can I terminate mediation if I do not think it is beneficial?
Yes, either party or the mediator may terminate mediation at any time. Mediation is a completely voluntary process.
Why use a Reston divorce mediation attorney?
Brian Hirsch has practiced family law in Northern Virginia since 1985 and is certified in family mediation by the Virginia Supreme Court. His experience not only includes successfully mediating family law matters but also litigating such family law issues at the trial and appellate levels. He is a former Chair of the Virginia State Bar Family Law Section Board of Governors, has lectured and written extensively in the area of family law, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He is the lead author of The Virginia Family Law Trial Handbook and editor of the Virginia Family Law Quarterly published by the Virginia State Bar. He has been recognized by Washingtonian, Northern Virginia Magazine, Virginia Business and Best Lawyers in America as a top divorce lawyer. Brian brings his extensive family law background to his mediation practice, including his experience practicing throughout Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Arlington County and Alexandria City.
How much will mediation cost?
Mediation with Brian Hirsch is $350 per hour (total, not per party). Payment is due at the end of each mediation session.
If you would like more information about what to expect before, during, and after your divorce, take a look at the services we provide and please feel free to contact us online or call 703-481-6063 speak with our experienced Northern Virginia divorce mediation lawyer, for an initial consultation.