Let’s address divorce mediation and settlement. For most of our firms clients, they want to keep their divorce matter out of the court system; they want to save on legal fees, they know there are some sticky points here and there with some of the property division, but by in large, they just need a little professional assistance to get the job done, reach an agreement and keep their family, their finances and their security out of the court system


We do that everyday and you’re in the right place.  Let me share with you, if I were in your situation, what I would do and what I advise my clients to do, each day and what I have found most effective for keeping a case, in particular, a divorce matter out of the court system.


First, you need to meet with a skilled family law attorney.  Our firm meets with clients each day to create a plan of action.  Second, you need to be honest and open about the psychological factors leading to that divorce, because those matter, as well as a clear one page summary of the assets and debts you and your spouse hold together.  Finally, you need to review that plan in a follow up meeting with your attorney to make sure you have the right negotiation steps and agreement laid out.


After meeting with us and crafting that plan of action we will invite your spouse, if they haven’t hired an attorney, to meet with us.  Often time my client will say to the spouse “Look, you can always hire an attorney later, why not hear what he has to say and give him a shot?”  After meeting with them, they typically become comfortable, knowing we’re not trying to hide the ball, but we have a sincere interest in keeping their family out of the court system and keeping the legal fees low.


After we’ve gone over the plan, we allow both parties to take the agreement home, digest it, look it over, make sure both parties are comfortable, ask any final questions, make any tweaks and we invite them back to sign the agreement in front of our notary public.


Next we would wait the statutory period of 6 months, with an agreement without minor children or 12 months with minor children, and then file an uncontested divorce packet, mailing each of you the final decree.


The hardest part is getting started and I know this is the toughest moment as you contemplate separation and how to handle your divorce.  I know also that the news is filled with people who do it the wrong way, hire aggressive attorneys, go straight to court and then try to settle the case. 


Our firm knows the right way to get it done, and we’re here to help you, and we’re here to meet with you, honestly review the plan of action necessary to settle your case, meet with your spouse or their attorney if they’ve hired one and get the job done right.


Remember, if we get stuck and have an agreement on all but spousal support, or all but what to do about the house, we can bring in, free of charge, a retired judge to sit with us in a Judicial Settlement Conference.


I know there are a lot of questions you still have about mediation and keeping your family out of court and settling your case quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.  Our firm prides ourselves on meeting with clients each week and ensuring, to the extent we can, that your family, you finances and your divorce matter stay out of the court system.  While we are in court every week, we take pride and we know if both sides are willing, we can keep your family out of the court. I look forward to meeting with you and discussing right settlement mediation path for your matter.



Who is the mediator?

What is mediation?

How do I keep my divorce out of the court system?

Van, how would you personally go about settling your divorce if you were me?

1. Meet with a family law attorney, like our firm, they focus on this area of practice and has the emotional intelligence to understand how to intelligently resolve your divorce quickly.

2. After meeting with that attorney and crafting a plan of action, you could invite your spouse to the settlement table.

3. A skillfully crafted plan can resolve your divorce and property divorce agreement, oftentimes, in one afternoon.

4. If you get stuck, host an outside mediation with your attorney to neutrally resolve where you stand.  We typically hire a retired judge to come in and meet with the both the parties if we’re stuck – but this is rare.


In the few cases where we are stuck I can secure the retired judge for free to you at a Judicial Settlement Conference.

H. Van Smith
Connect with me
Trusted Virginia Attorney Serving Richmond to Williamsburg