Patricia E. Tichenor can serve as a mediator; however, she is a neutral in that instance and can only help each side to work towards an agreement. Once that agreement is reached, it is up to one or both of the spouses to meet with their own, separate and independent attorney to review the mediated agreement and decide to sign it. A mediator in Virginia cannot complete your divorce for you; so, at least one spouse must always obtain legal counsel to complete the divorce after a mediated agreement is signed.
We also provide representation during mediation for spouses who want to have an advocate on their side guiding them on their rights during the mediation process. A mediator, as a neutral, is there to facilitate discussion between spouses and not provide legal advice; so, it is often important to secure your own attorney to review any agreement reached in mediation before you sign it. All this being said, our law office highly recommends mediation and often uses it to help clients resolve even the most difficult of legal matters. Virginia has some of the finest retired Circuit Court Judges available to assist in that process. We believe court should be the last resort, but we also know that an opposing party’s expectations can often be so far from reality that mediation will not be productive, leaving court the only option to reach a fair resolution.