Mediation is a common alternative to litigation when it comes to divorce in Colorado. It is a non-confrontational process that allows families to talk out their issues.
In divorce mediation, you and your spouse — or, in some cases, the two of you and your respective lawyers — hire a neutral third party, called a Mediator, to meet with you in an effort to discuss and resolve the issues in your divorce.
The Mediator is neutral and doesn’t represent either party. He or she has no power or authority to make legal decisions concerning the divorce. Rather, they assist the family in focusing on the issues and making decisions amicably.
Divorce mediation can be used to resolve all of the issues typically addressed in a litigated divorce, including:
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Alimony/spousal support
- Property division
- Parenting plans
(Keep in mind that you and your spouse don’t have to agree on all of these issues at the start of the process.)
As long as you are willing to work together amicably and collaboratively, you should be able to resolve your differences through mediation. Divorce mediation is most effective in situations where both parties have a desire and ability to work together amicably to resolve all issues in dispute.
An essential element of a successful mediation is confidentiality. Participants in a mediation must be able to rely on the confidentiality of the process if they are going to be candid with the mediator about their settlement positions, and other sensitive issues. Guidelines for mediators require that anything said, any writing or any admission made during a mediation is to be kept confidential, and that would include the terms of the settlement.
Mediation also typically saves couples a significant amount of money in divorce-related costs. Couples pay just one mediator, and can share that cost. Some clients, however, do hire attorneys for more limited representation, or simply for advice, along the mediation route. Usually, each party pays one-half of the mediation cost, but the parties are free to negotiate with each other in this regard or (during mediation).
When the mediation is completed, a detailed written divorce agreement is drafted. It’s that written agreement, when finalized and signed, that becomes the cornerstone of the divorce. It’s what the judge will review in court, and it becomes “the law” between the parties after the divorce. After the hearing, at which the parties appear and the judge reviews the written agreement, the divorce is final. It’s legal, and it’s binding.
Mediation does involve trying to make big decisions in your divorce case, so speak to the experienced legal team at Lewis & Matthews P.C. We will be with you every step of the way during the mediation process to ensure you have someone by your side who can answer your questions and provide advice and support.