Are You Participating in Mediation for Child Custody, Visitation or Child Support?
If you are participating in a court-ordered mediation in Virginia for child custody, visitation or child support, and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations judge referred you to mediation, then there are a few things that you should be aware of before you go.
If you are going to discuss child support in the mediation, then you must bring evidence of income and other relevant child expenses, such as health insurance costs, medical expenses and day care expenses. In Virginia, the amount you pay in child support is determined by guidelines outlined in the Code of Virginia. The child support guidelines are in Section 20.108.2 of the Code of Virginia.
Both the petitioner (the parent or individual who has filed for custody/visitation/child support) and the respondent (the parent or individual who was served with the petitions) must appear at the mediation. If either party has an attorney, then the attorneys may appear, and if there is a guardian ad litem appointed to represent the child, then he or she may appear. The child will not participate in the mediation.
All documents and communications made in the mediation are confidential pursuant to Section 8.01-581.22 of the Code of Virginia. There are nine exceptions to when documents and communications are not kept confidential. The nine exceptions are also laid out in Section 8.01-581.22 of the Code of Virginia. A few of the exceptions are:
When parties agree to waive the confidentiality; or
When a party threatens to inflict bodily injury; or
When a party communicates the intent to plan, attempts to commit or commits a crime or conceals an ongoing crime.
If the parties reach a settlement and draft a written agreement about the custody, visitation and/or the child support and the case is filed in court, then the parties can request that the judge include the written agreement in the court order. See Section 8.01-581.25 of the Code of Virginia.
Let the mediation process be a step in the right direction. Be aware of who and what to bring to the mediation and what can take place in the mediation. Contact The Smyers Law Firm if you have any questions about family mediation in Virginia.