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.
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.
How long does the process take?
Every case varies. Typically, mediation will take between 3 and 5 sessions. Some can be shorter and some can be longer depending on the number of issues and degree of conflict between the parties.
Who will be the mediator?
Brian Hirsch is certified in Family Mediation with the Virginia Supreme Court and has practiced Family Law since 1985.
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.
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 Reston Divorce Mediation?
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 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 has been recognized by the Washingtonian, Northern Virginia and Virginia Business magazines and Best Lawyers in America as a top divorce lawyer. He is also a Neutral Case Evaluator and Commissioner in Chancery for Fairfax County Circuit Court. Brian brings his extensive family law background to his mediation practice.
How much will mediation cost?
Mediation is $340 per hour (total, not per party). Payment is due at the end of each mediation session.