Virginia divorce law provides a specific procedure and process for the division of "marital property" pursuant to the Equitable Distribution statute. This includes real and personal property. This also includes the allocation of debts between the parties.
For couples who are not married and who did not have the foresight to have an agreement in place in the event of a split, you do not have the benefit of an all-in-one statute. You would have to file one suit to deal with your personal property. You would have to file a VERY expensive and cumbersome partition suit to deal with the real property. And good luck with dividing that debt. You both are on the hook and if it isn't paid, the credit of both of you is ruined.
In mediation, you agree to handle EVERYTHING. Nothing gets left to chance, and you can do things that a court will not or cannot.
To avoid many of the problems, couples can execute an agreement that covers property in the event of a break-up.
Do The Best For Your Children
In an ideal world, children would be treated as the priority that they should be. Mediation is the only place that guarantees that this will occur because you are in charge of the process. Some courts still refuse to consider granting visitation (much less custody) to the non-biological parent when same sex couples split. They will not order child support.
Unmarried couples also often are treated as second class citizens and may have to deal with multiple court systems.
Preserve Your Dignity
Mediation allows you to maintain your personal dignity and the dignity of your relationship. You do not risk subjection to the biased attitudes present in many of the courtrooms. The parties meet with a neutral third party in a non-threatening atmosphere in which you determine the outcome. Each party is fully heard (unlike court procedure) and participates in the process. No one is forced to do anything.
Obtain Quality Settlements
Settlements in mediation are more likely to be complete and to be acceptable to all parties than decisions made by judges. Because of this, people are more likely to abide by the terms and to be happier with them.
You Save Money With Mediation
Mediation costs a fraction of a contested case. Even lawyers who are also mediators (myself included) charge less to do mediation. So you get legal service for less because we believe that mediation is a better route for dispute resolution, and we want to encourage it.