As the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, divorced or separated parents in Virginia face unique challenges now that schools are closed for the school year and courts are closed.
- With schools closed, do I follow a summer or school custody schedule?
- What do I do if I can’t pay child support this month because I lost my job?
- Can I stop my child from visiting the other parent to prevent them from catching coronavirus?
“If both parents are open to finding resolutions in a rational calm manner, virtual mediation is the best option,” says family law attorney and mediator Carolyn Grimes. “During this stressful time, we’re offering virtual mediation services to conduct sessions remotely, while following current social distancing guidelines.”
Mediation involves both parties working with one mediator to resolve any family law disputes between them, once the agreement is in place, it needs to be reviewed by their independent attorneys before it is finalized.
Jessica Leischner, family law attorney and mediator, says, “We start by listening to each party’s concerns and work with parties both separately and together in a fair manner while providing practical suggestions based on our years of experience.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared to meet with both parties virtually, through Skype, Zoom, emails and/or phone calls. Through mediation, we can develop an agreement to resolve current short-term, emergency issues, such as custody schedules, visitation and child support, limited issues, and/or all issues people are dealing with. The goal is to help parties draft a comprehensive, detailed, and strongly written settlement agreement.
If you have any questions about mediation or would like to set up a consultation, please contact Carolyn Grimes at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jessica Leischner at email@example.com. One party may initiate the contact to set up the appointment with a mediator, but both parties need to agree to mediation and then mediation sessions are conducted jointly through remote access.
Carolyn Grimes is a partner in the firm, practicing in all areas of family law including divorce, spousal support, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, retirement issues, and prenuptial agreements, among other areas. She practices in all of the Circuit and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts in Northern Virginia and has argued before the Court of Appeals. She has lectured on family law topics ranging from custody to retirement issues, including military, federal, civilian and Foreign Service retirement issues, for various organizations in the Commonwealth. In addition to traditional litigation, Ms. Grimes practices law in the collaborative law model. She is also a mediator herself. Named a Top Attorney in 2015 from Washingtonian Magazine, Ms. Grimes actively serves the community as well. She was the 2009 and 2006 President of the Board of Directors for Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV), has served on its Board for many years and has performed many hours of pro bono work for the organization. She is a Past President of the Alexandria Bar Association, for which she has co-chaired the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee and chaired the “Beat the Odds” Program, a scholarship program for youths who have overcome adversity. She also participated in the American Bar Association program offering legal assistance to victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks. She is currently serving her second term on Bar Council for the Virginia State Bar and has been a panel chair for the Virginia State Bar Fee Dispute Program as well.
Jessica L. Leischner is partner with Wade, Grimes, Friedman, Meinken & Leischner, PLLC. As an accomplished family law attorney, litigator and mediator serving Northern Virginia, Ms. Leischner represents clients in Fairfax County, Alexandria City, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Stafford County, and Prince William County. Ms. Leischner’s practice is exclusively in the area of family law, including divorce, child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, equitable distribution, settlement agreements, property rights, post-divorce disputes and other family law matters. With the proximity to Washington, D.C., Ms. Leischner has extensive experience in cases involving federal government employees, military personnel, Foreign Service employees, including complex retirement issues. Ms. Leischner has widespread experience in litigation, as well as the negotiation and settlement of cases.