Virginia Divorce Mediation

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Certification of mediators in Virginia Divorce Mediation

The Supreme Court of this state executes the ADR (alternative dispute resolution) program as per which the mediators are certified into 2 types-

  • Family mediator
  • Civil mediator

For these 2 types, the requirements of education and experience are not the same. On 1st January 2000, Family mediators were separated into 2 types-

  • Juvenile Court certified
  • Circuit Court certified

The requirements of Circuit Court were more than the Juvenile Court. Juvenile Court certified mediators must have experience in fields like visitation, child custody and child support. A Circuit Court certified mediator must have experience in the above fields as well as the equitable distribution laws, economics, family finances and other topics essential for complete divorce settlements.

If the divorcing partners are mediating on issues regarding children only, then a Juvenile Court certified mediator would be okay. However, if the mediation is about all the issues in a divorce (like spousal support, taxes, health insurance, life insurance, retirement benefits, property distribution etc), then a Circuit Court certified mediator should be hired.

Classification of mediators in Virginia Divorce Mediation

Mediators are classified into 8 types as follows-

  • Draftsman and non-draftsman
  • Structured and non-structured
  • Lawyer and non-lawyer
  • Certified and non-certified

Draftsman and non-draftsman:

Draftsman mediators are lawyer mediators who draft the actual Marital Settlement Agreement. The divorcing parties then put their signatures on this agreement and it is filed in the Court. Further, a divorce decree is created using this agreement.

Non-draftsman mediators are non-lawyer or lawyer mediators that provide the divorcing parties references of other lawyers who draft and negotiate the agreement.

Structured and non-structured:

According to the philosophy of mediation, the mediator is not supposed to raise any disputed issues. Thus, when the parties are not aware of how to raise a vital issue that is a disputed one, then it may happen that it is totally forgotten. Structured mediators follow a four phase process (if there are no children then three phase) that guides the divorcing parties through all the issues that are to be considered in a logical order.

Lawyer and non-lawyer:

During mediation, the divorcing parties are discussing the most crucial and far-reaching legal contract of their life. Thus, it follows that there is need of legal information in a mediation regarding topics like inheritance laws, property laws, retirement benefits laws, tax laws, divorce laws etc. A lawyer mediator decreases or eliminates the requirement of outside services of a lawyer. If a non-lawyer mediator is hired, then the divorcing parties need to retain 1 lawyer each to supply legal information to them. It has been observed that although a lawyer mediator is hired, some parties do retain a lawyer as an adviser.

Certified and non-certified:

In this state, there is no need of any certification to become a mediator. Some mediators do not have any certification, experience or training in mediation. So, the divorcing parties must remember that if somebody calls self a mediator, this is not an assurance of quality service. Unfortunately, regarding Certified mediators also, the divorcing parties might not get quality service, but the certification certainly helps.

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