The family mediators at MCC will assist couples in making decisions, and will prepare a Separation Agreement the parties may use to file for a no-fault divorce (after being separated for one year if there are minor children, or six months if there are no minor children of the marriage). The parties need to decide upon these factors:
• Custody, Visitation & Child Support if there are minor children of the marriage.
• Equitable Distribution of Assets and Liabilities. The Commonwealth of Virginia views a marriage as an economic partnership, and each party is deemed to have both rights and interests in the marital property and responsibility for the marital debts. Equitable distribution does not automatically mean an equal (50/50) apportionment. Parties should bring to mediation information on:
• All assets (physical and financial) and debt
• The value of the asset/amount owed
• Who owns the asset/owes the debt
• When each asset was acquired
If either party has a pension plan (for example: IRA, 401k, 403B), it is important to identify how much, if any, contribution was made to the plan prior to the marriage, and whether either party plans to claim an interest in the other’s pension plan.
• Spousal Support is the amount of money one spouse pays to the other upon separation or divorce. Parties can mutually agree upon whether either will pay spousal support, its amount and duration, whether they will waive spousal support “now & forever”, or whether a party will reserve the right to request it at a later date (generally for a period not to exceed one-half the length of the marriage). When the court decides on spousal support, the factors it considers include:
- The obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties.
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and physical/mental condition of the parties, and any special circumstances of the family.
- The employability of the parties, if not currently employed, and their earning capacity if employed. Included also are the considerations surrounding the acquisition of skills or education necessary to enhance earning ability.
- The decisions made during the marriage which may affect current or future earning potential, e.g., time out of the labor market.
- The contributions (both monetary and non-monetary) made during the marriage by each party toward the marriage’s well-being.
- The extent to which either party has contributed to the attainment of education, training, career position, or profession of the other party.
- The property interests of the parties and how the results of the equitable distribution of assets and liabilities will affect each party.
Please refer to our Separation/Divorce Mediation Checklist.