Mediation option resolves equitable division and other issues


It's a well-known fact that people over 50 are getting divorced more freely these days. The increased mobility of older individuals and their longer lifespans have contributed to this trend. Furthermore, people have increased expectations for marriage and so many more options when a marriage doesn't work. As some have put it, marriage now is more of a long-term lease than an eternal estate of the heart. Whether one lives in Virginia or elsewhere, if the marriage doesn't kick into fourth gear, it may be time to begin the process of equitable division of property and prepare to say a relatively cordial adios.

Despite the ease with which older Americans choose to move on, it's not a process without risk. Those getting divorced will likely suffer economic strain and ill health. That's where mediation may be the least objectionable way for an older person to best tolerate the process, with its contentious issues of alimony, support and the equitable division of property, including retirement funds.

Divorce mediation offers the benefit of being less expensive than a contested or extensively negotiated divorce. For older Americans considering divorce, mediation can be an option that makes the process tolerable. There are a couple of different formats, but they all serve to have the parties working together to hammer out an agreement without rancor or competitiveness.

The process doesn't get rid of lawyers but it can reduce their time considerably and thus reduce legal fees substantially. Some things to be resolved in mediation are retirement benefits, finances and equitable division of property. Without court proceedings, extensive discovery, and adversarial competitions, mediation can be a very feasible option and more affordable.

In Virginia and elsewhere, with mediation you'll be able to talk freely and communicate openly about how you'd like to handle asset valuation, equitable division and retirement funding. Issues dealing with retirement plans, social security, the residential real estate, and other marital property can be frankly discussed without rancor or fear of losing position or points. In mediation, a mutual goal is sought with each party contributing helpful input, which invests both sides in wanting to make sure that the other side is also satisfied. However, it takes an adult maturity to engage in a process that values the other party's interests.

Source:, Mediators for divorce in La Jolla, CA talk about separation post-50, Nancy Fagan, Sept. 30, 2013

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