Think Outside the Courtroom
Do you want to try to resolve your family dispute outside of court? Nanda Davis is a neutral and impartial attorney mediator for people like you.
In some cases, mediation is by far the better solution, because the standard orders from court may not work for the unique needs of your family. For example:
- Kids with extraordinary needs, including things like IEPs, medical issues, mental health concerns, resisting time with one parent, and demanding sports schedules.
- Parents with special considerations, like complex work schedules, substance abuse, residence out of state, and desire for reunification with a child.
Nanda also handles mediations related to:
- Divorce, including things like: division of assets, custody, visitation, child and/or spousal support, and matters relating to your marital home.
- Custody and visitation modification, when the current schedule no longer works for everyone.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process where you and your partner agree to come to a mediator, not the court, to help facilitate discussion, brainstorming, and negotiation. If you and your ex can agree on some or all issues, then Nanda will write up a short list of what you both agreed to. As a mediator, Nanda believes it is important that everyone at a mediation feels empowered to share his or her viewpoint and is respected during that process.
Why Should I Choose Mediation Over Going to Court?
Court is traumatizing, expensive, and often leaves people unsatisfied with the outcome.
Nanda has litigated high conflict family law matters for years, and she has seen firsthand the terrible toll it has taken on her clients and their children. Court is stressful, expensive, drawn out, and the public nature of the fillings and proceedings is often humiliating.
Many times, people leave the courtroom feeling misunderstood, devalued, and like the outcome does not work for their families. Often, these people end up dragging everyone back to court to ask for modifications.
Mediation allows you to redefine your family going forwards, saving you time and money.
If you have children with someone, you’re going to have some sort of contact with that person for years at recitals, sports practices, weddings, and birthday parties for the grandchildren. Mediation can set the tone for all future contact.
Even for individuals who do not have children, mediation can cut down on the stress and uncertainty, while allowing you to reach a solution that is better for everyone. You can avoid publicly airing grievances and going through the trauma of being in court.
How Does It Work?
If you feel that you and your ex would like to resolve some or all issues through mediation, then call our office or contact us through our website. You both must sign our mediation agreement, and then, depending on the complexity of the case, each side will have the opportunity to submit a statement or documents to Nanda ahead of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: No. It is important for mediators to remain neutral and impartial. Accordingly, Virginia prohibits attorney mediators from representing either party in any litigation.
A: No. It is a conflict of interest for Nanda to have previously represented you. She cannot be impartial if she previously represented you.
A: If you reach an agreement, that’s great news! Once that happens, if you need to file a divorce or make an agreement enforceable in court, Nanda will suggest several attorneys who can file that paperwork for you. Virginia prohibits attorney mediators from filing paperwork for either party in Court.
A: No. It means you are great candidates for mediation! Everyone comes to mediation because their communication has broken down due to deep feelings of hurt and strong disagreement. If you got along, you wouldn’t need mediation and good mediators expect these strong feelings and different points of view. You don’t have to like each other, understand each other, or be remotely close on your desired outcome. All that is required is that you both agree to give mediation a try.
A: It is never too early or too late to start the mediation process. If you know that your marriage is coming to an end, or if you know your current custody schedule is not going to work when the kids start school, then reach out to me so that you can begin working on a solution. Conversely, if you are tired of the years of fighting, maybe it's time to try something different.
A: No, there is no pressure to reach an agreement. In many cases, just to watch two divorcing spouses both show up at a mediation and feel heard is the success. If you both reach an agreement on one or more issues, that is great. If you want time to think about it or review the agreement with your lawyer, that is fine. Some people who don’t reach an agreement pick another day to come back and resume the mediation. Whether or not you agree to any proposal is entirely up to you.
A: No. In some mediations it makes sense to have everyone together for some or all of the mediation. In other cases, it makes sense to have you in different rooms while Nanda goes between the rooms.
A: Yes. Sometimes victims of abuse prefer mediation so that they do not have to relive trauma in front of the judge or have lawyers cross examine them. Sometimes victims of abuse find power in having their voice be heard in a confidential mediation. If you don’t feel safe being in the same room as your ex, Nanda can separate you into different rooms. If there has been abuse, please let Nanda know ahead of time.
A: Yes. You are not allowed to share what was said in mediation with others or testify about it in court. One of the benefits of mediation is that you can freely discuss ideas without fear the other side will use it against you at litigation. There are of course some limitations to confidentiality, however, like in cases of child abuse or criminal activity.
A: No you don’t have to have a lawyer for mediation. For some people who want to keep costs down, they choose to mediate without attorneys. You can always have a lawyer review the proposed agreement after mediation but before you sign if you wish.
A: Under Virginia Law, the mediator is not allowed to base a fee on whether or not you reach an agreement. Nanda’s fee is the same whether or not you reach an agreement.
A: Having represented many clients in mediation, Nanda has observed that many mediators take the approach that their job is to tell you what a judge would order. Sometimes this can be very helpful and if that is the style you want, then we would be happy to refer you to mediators who are great at this evaluative style. Nanda, however, believes that when many ideas are generated, without limiting the outcome to what might happen in court, that people are happier with the agreement. Additionally, some mediators keep everyone in the same room at all times, and others believe in keeping people separated. Nanda uses both approaches at times, and she is flexible based on your needs.
A: No. All that is required for mediation is that you both agree to come to a mediator to mediate the disagreement between you two. Mediation can address as many or as few issues as you want and is flexible in its approach. Mediation can be as short as or as long as needed. On the other hand, Collaborative Divorce is a highly structured process that includes therapists, financial experts, and multiple lawyers who have all been certified in the Collaborative Divorce process. If the Collaborative Divorce process breaks down, then both sides must hire new attorneys for litigation, as the collaborative lawyers are not allowed to proceed in court. Collaborative Divorce is best for high asset divorces that require the expertise of professionals in the community. For some divorces, it works beautifully. In other circumstances, it may be more expensive and time consuming than a party wants or needs, and in those circumstances, mediation is the better choice.
Nanda Davis has extensive experience helping clients resolve their family law related issues inside and outside of the courtroom. As a mom herself, she knows the stakes just don’t get any higher than when you’re talking about your kids.
Nanda received her intensive mediation training from Harvard School of Law, Executive Training at the Program on Negotiation. Her style as a mediator is warm, empathetic, and curious about what would work best for you and your family.
Nanda still regularly represents clients in highly contested custody and divorce matters. She knows how the different judges currently rule, what they want to see in mediated agreements, and why orders and agreements break apart, forcing everyone to go back to court. She brings this knowledge to her mediations to ensure that people like you have agreements that are acceptable to the judges and are lasting moving forward.
Call our office or contact us through our website to get started with mediation!