When parties choose to mediate a divorce settlement in Colorado, they have the opportunity to exercise more autonomy over their divorce process, they eliminate the costs associated with expensive litigation, and they minimize the uncertainty that can result from granting a judge the final determination of how their family law matters will be resolved.
For residents of the Denver metropolitan area, we offer mediation services to resolve a variety of family law disputes, especially those concerning:
Mediation – Definition
Colorado Law defines mediation as an intervention in dispute negotiations by a trained neutral third party with the purpose of assisting the parties to reach their own solution. Colorado Revised Statutes, 13-22-303(2.4).
The Purpose of Mediation
The purpose of mediation is to help you achieve a resolution to your Family law disputes in a non-adversarial forum which encourages conversation and mutual understanding to achieve your goals. By employing this non-adversarial approach to resolving family disputes, you can minimize conflict, control the terms of settlement, and will be more likely to avoid having to return to Court in the future. The full resolution of your legal matter is our goal, and finding creative solutions that work best for you and your family is our priority.
The Mediation Process
Once you indicate your interest in our mediation services, a mediator from our office will contact you and the other party to set up a time for everyone to come together and discuss the issues of concern.
As a neutral party, the mediator’s primary aims will be (1) to understand each person’s goals, primary concerns, and family needs; (2) to facilitate a conversation between the parties in the hope of finding common ground (3) explore creative solutions, and (4) to help the parties develop strategies for a successful resolution to their concerns.
If you currently have an attorney, the option is always available for your attorney to attend the mediation with you. We regularly work with represented and non-represented individuals.
Mediation is confidential and the Judge should only learn whether or not an agreement was reached and the final terms of your agreement.
To the extent that each of the parties can submit their respective positions and relevant materials to the mediator prior to mediation, the mediation process can in fact begin prior to the scheduled mediation meeting date. While optional, we encourage each party to complete this mediation questionnaire prior to mediation to assist the mediator in understanding the major issues to be resolved and to help each party to organize their thoughts and assess their goals concerning the outstanding issues.
On the day of mediation, the mediator usually will begin the process by meeting with everyone together to establish the ground rules, but in some circumstances the parties may prefer to begin the process in separate rooms. After the ground rules have been addressed, the mediator usually will meet first with the moving party and then with the nonmoving party.
Whether you reach a full agreement regarding all outstanding or whether only partial agreements are attained, we can draft the documents which will memorialize and formalize the agreements made. IN a dissolution of marriage case, for example, if full agreements can be reached, we can draft the Separation Agreement and the Parenting Plan. If partial agreements we will draft a Memo of Understanding (MOU), which will reflect the terms upon which agreements have been reached and those still under dispute.
Preparing for Mediation
Being prepared for mediation can significantly increase your chances for a successful and long term resolution to your Family Law issues than if you come to mediation wholly unprepared. Below you will find some general guidelines and principles to keep in mind for your mediation preparations:
Be Prepared to Negotiate / Compromise: A successful mediation is not necessarily one where one person leaves the meeting with all of their goals realized and the other person leaves empty handed. The most successful mediations are those from which all parties leave with some sense of resolution toward the goals they hoped to achieve. These gains are usually predicated on concessions each party has offered to the other side as a means of meeting in the middle. Be prepared to hear and absorb the other party’s goals and to offer concessions as a good faith effort to reach a long-term resolution.
Educate Yourself on the Law / Know your Rights: Having a sense of where you stand legally is always advisable. Whether you meet with an attorney to give you a general overview of the legal landscape and your legal rights within it, or whether you avail yourself of the self-help resources available through your local Domestic Relations Court or the State of Colorado, it is important to have a general understanding of what legal rights you may have and what legal obligations you may owe to others.
Organize Your Finances: Bring all of the pertinent forms and documents necessary to reach a resolution in your case. For Dissolutions, this would include your completed Sworn Financial Statement and Certificate of Compliance. Additionally, make sure you have ascertained the current values of all potential assets including real estate, automobiles, stocks, retirements, and any other items of value. If you’ve gathered personal belongings such as furniture, tools, jewelry that may need to be divided among you, it will be helpful to have a list of the items and their respective values.
You do not want the mediation process to be stalled from the beginning because you came to the table without the tools necessary to reach a resolution. Come organized and prepared.
Keep Your Emotions in Check: While one aim of mediation is to resolve conflicts in a non-adversarial forum, the reality is the parties are coming to mediate because they have been unsuccessful in resolving their conflicts on their own. Know that feelings and emotions may be triggered by the process. By keeping your ultimate goal of resolution at the forefront of your mind, you will help to maintain your equilibrium and to ensure a stable and tension free forum for resolution.
If Child Custody is at Issue: Be sure to review the current Parenting Plan if one is in place. If no parenting plan has ever been put in place, review this page for additional information on what a good parenting plan should include and the many issues it can help to resolve.
Draft Mediation Statement: We encourage each party to prepare a personal statement for the mediator’s review in advance of mediation. This statement is entirely confidential and serves to give the mediator a sense of your personal history, your larger concerns, the matters about which you are seeking resolution, your ideal outcomes, and the areas where you may be willing to make concessions.
Results of Mediation
Because each party has an opportunity to share their concerns and express their ideal resolution, a successful mediation is not achieved with one person realizing all of their goals and the other leaving empty handed. At a minimum, a successful mediation will leave all parties feeling that their ideal goals have been expressed and their concerns have been seriously considered. When all parties leave the table with a sense of resolution to one or a number of their concerns, mediation has been successful. It may require a number of mediation sessions to reach a balanced resolution that provides some concessions to each party. In the end, being able to guide your own dispute resolution process through mediation rather than entrusting it to a judge, external to the conflict itself, can have a profound impact on your feeling of resolution attained when the process is complete and has been shown to result in more stable and more lasting agreements among the parties than those imposed through litigation in Court.
Drafting Court Documents
Mediation can be employed for a variety of purposes, to include the drafting of key documents required in all divorces in Colorado, such as the Separation Agreement and Parenting Plan.
A mediator can help the parties discuss and decide upon the parenting time schedule the parties will exercise, the support that is equitable and appropriate for Child and Spousal support, and even how property and debts will be divided among the parties.
Other important family disputes can be memorialized through the assistance of a mediator. These can include drafted agreements relating to child relocation, modifications of previous case orders, or temporary changes to agreements the parties have made. The mediator can also help the parties to decide which option is best for memorializing the terms of their newfound agreements in mediation.
Where Mediation Can Occur
To accommodate the varying needs of parties in the mediation process, we offer the following mediation platforms:
Frequently Asked Questions