Virginia Divorce via Mediation
Prior to the first mediation session, the parties to the mediation will have the benefit of an orientation. If the mediation is ordered by the Court, the orientation is the only mandatory part of the mediation, otherwise, mediation, even when ordered by the Court is absolutely voluntary. The orientation may be scheduled to take place on its own, or it may take place on the same day, and just prior to the first scheduled mediation session. After the orientation, the parties decide whether or not they would like to continue with mediation.
During the orientation, the mediator and the parties will set the stage for the mediation sessions. Preliminary items will be addressed, including introductions, accommodations, and an explanation of the mediator’s style and obligation to maintain a safe, secure and productive environment.
The parties will learn about the mediation process. During the sessions, the parties are afforded equal opportunities to present and discuss information. While the mediator will facilitate the parties’ brainstorming, the mediator leaves the generation of ideas to the parties. Both parties will be present at each mediation session. However, there may be times during the mediation when the mediator may want to have separate sessions with each party; the mediator may refer to these separate sessions as “caucuses”.
The mediator will discuss in detail the rules and limits of confidentiality as it relates to mediation. The mediator will also allow the parties to set ground rules for the mediation sessions. The parties will learn that interim agreements may be reduced to writing, and once the parties resolve their conflict, their agreement will be memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding.
Following this orientation, the parties will execute the Mediation Consent form to move on to the mediation sessions.