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Fort Collins Divorce Mediation Lawyer

The end of a marriage does not always mean a fight in divorce court. Even if you and your ex cannot agree on all of the issues of your split, mediation may be possible. For many, mediation is a better, more efficient option than going through the formal court process in a divorce.

Understanding what divorce mediation is, how it works, and its potential benefits can help you decide whether it may be a viable option for you. To help you with that decision, our Fort Collins divorce mediation lawyer is ready to represent you. We can help you work through all aspects of this process and decide whether this is the best route for you to take. 

We will explain multiple aspects about using a divorce mediation lawyer in Fort Collins. We also are ready to provide a no-obligation consultation about your case. Call The Cossitt Law Firm today at 970-488-1887.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a dispute resolution process that happens outside the courtroom. It involves a specially trained third party, the mediator, who does not “represent” either side in the divorce. Instead, the mediator serves as a neutral facilitator who establishes a safe, unbiased environment while helping divorcing parties . . .

  • Discuss the points of dispute in their divorce case
  • Identify common ground and potential for compromise
  • Attempt to devise resolutions that are mutually beneficial
  • Work toward achieving fair, equitable divorce agreements.

Both parties in the divorce can have a hand in selecting the mediator. There is no requirement to file divorce papers before pursuing mediation.

How Does a Divorce Mediation Process Work?

You and your ex can make the choice to pursue mediation, or the family court may order you both to participate in mediation before it will step in on the case. While divorce mediation can focus on issues like the division of marital assets and/or support payments, it often also tackles the sensitive issues that arise in a custody battle. Here is a general outline of how the divorce mediation process in Colorado typically works.

Step 1: The Initial Meeting

In this preliminary meeting, which does not have to occur in person, you will get a chance to share the details of your case with the mediator. This is the opportunity for the mediator to get up to speed with the points of dispute in the case and what your objectives are. It’s also your opportunity to learn about the ground rules, ask specific questions, and receive more details about what to expect as you proceed with divorce mediation.

This preliminary mediation meeting can involve you, your ex, and your Fort Collins divorce mediation lawyer in the same room, or the mediator can meet separately with the divorcing parties. In the case of separate meetings, the other party in the divorce will have to reach out to the mediator to schedule an appointment; the mediator will not make contact, as mediation is generally a voluntary process (unless the court specifically orders it).

Step 2: The Mediation Sessions

You, your ex, your representatives, and your mediator will schedule the first session of the mediation services for divorce at a time that is convenient for all parties. During this session:

  • The mediator will typically go over the ground rules and/or any administrative issues as a kickoff to the session.
  • You and your ex may be in the same room or separate rooms.
  • Each side will get the chance to explain their arguments and desired outcomes for the conflicts in the divorce.
  • The mediator will zero in on specific issues in a particular conflict to identify common ground and the options for moving toward a resolution.
  • The mediator will ask open-ended questions to facilitate the discussion and to help both sides try to come to an agreement, whenever possible.

For some parties, one session of mediation services for divorce may be all it takes to resolve the issues and come to an agreement. For others, it may take multiple sessions to work out the conflicts. If requiring more than one session, follow-up sessions will usually occur a couple of weeks apart to give both sides time to reflect on the proceedings and what they want to do going forward.

Step 3: The Memorandum of Understanding

When mediation is successful in helping parties resolve any conflicts in their divorce, the agreed-upon resolution will need to be officially in writing in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Generally, the mediator will help craft the MOU document, and both parties will get the opportunity to review it for precision and accuracy before signing it. Our Fort Collins divorce mediation lawyer can help you verify that the MOU contains all the information you want.

Step 4: The Final Meeting

When wrapping up divorce mediation, the final session of the mediation services for divorce will involve compiling the MOU and all other paperwork to file with the court. At this time, the mediator can answer questions about what to expect going forward.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Divorce Mediation Lawyer in Fort Collins?

When representing you, our team can help you set up and move through the mediation process. Our Fort Collins divorce mediation lawyer potentially can offer several other benefits too, including:

Faster Resolution

With the number of divorce cases going through the courts, couples will be at the mercy of the court’s overburdened schedule. This can mean having to wait weeks, or even months, between hearings and various proceedings. It can also mean that the court dates you receive may not be the most convenient. With mediation, however, we can help you create your own schedule with the mediator. That often speeds up the process while offering flexibility that can be invaluable during a divorce case.

Privacy

Court cases and documents are usually part of the public record (unless specific requests and approvals occur to seal those records). This can mean that some of the most private and sensitive aspects of a couple’s life, from finances to allegations of misconduct, are available for public scrutiny. In contrast, mediation won’t put these details into the public record. With mediation, all the items you and your ex discuss will remain private, and any resolutions you achieve will also stay private. This is why we often recommend going through mediation, as it can provide priceless peace of mind, especially in high-net-worth divorce, cases that involve high-profile couples, and various other sensitive situations.

Cost Savings

The longer a divorce case drags on, the more it tends to cost. Although there may be some divorce costs you simply can’t avoid, the costs associated with the duration of your case can be within your control if there’s any possibility of achieving resolution through divorce mediation. And when there is, you may be able to significantly reduce your divorce costs, preserving more financial resources for your life after divorce. We are ready to take the steps to help you move toward a mediation session when it makes sense for your particular case.

Better Outcomes

Mediation lets you and your ex come together to create solutions that work for you. The goal of these proceedings is to achieve mutually beneficial—or win/win—solutions. And the sky can be the limit in terms of what compromises or creative options you and an ex come up with, along with the help of our Fort Collins divorce mediation lawyer. Given that you and your ex know your family better than the family court, mediation can be a powerful way to create more ideal outcomes than a judge could devise.

It’s also crucial to point out that divorcing parties do not need to be perfectly friendly with each other for mediation to be a viable option. As long as they are willing to listen, hear each other out, and try to work toward a solution, divorce mediation has the potential to offer several major benefits.

Can You Do Divorce Mediation Without Lawyers?

Although it is possible for you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to go through mediation without legal representation, this can be a challenging process. The Colorado Judicial Branch offers a list of potential mediators who serve different regions in the state. You and your spouse may be able to agree on a mediator to use without the help of our Fort Collins divorce mediation lawyer. You may even be able to set up a meeting and begin the mediation process.

However, if you and your spouse had difficulty being civil to each other during the marriage, these issues may carry over to the mediation session. Sometimes, two people seeking a divorce argue regularly when they try to make decisions together. It is possible that having legal representatives in the room with the mediator can diffuse the situation. Perhaps your spouse will feel less like arguing and causing conflict when lawyers are in the room. Our team is not involved with past arguments between you and your spouse, so we often can help with keeping everyone calm and civil.

Will Mediation Always Work with a Fort Collins Divorce Mediation Lawyer?

As effective as mediation can be, it does not always result in resolution for divorce cases. Sometimes, one or both parties may be unwilling to budge on certain issues. When it’s clear that compromise and resolution through mediation are not possible, divorcing parties will need to go to court. At this point, a family court judge will intervene, hearing the arguments, reviewing the evidence, and making a final decision on the remaining points of dispute.

Once those matters resolve, issuance of an official divorce decree can finalize the divorce. Our Fort Collins divorce lawyer is ready to represent you from the beginning of the divorce proceedings through mediation and until the finalization of the official decree. For a consultation, contact The Cossitt Law Firm at 970-488-1887. 

Is Divorce Mediation Worth It?

As effective and promising as it can be, sometimes divorce mediation is not worth it. In some circumstances, mediation may come with some significant risks. Knowing about those potential pitfalls upfront can help you maintain realistic expectations. It can also help you understand when divorce mediation may have hit a dead end and it’s time to go to court.

Some of the main risks associated with divorce mediation can include the following:

  • Inaccurate information: The discussions and compromises in mediation should rely on full, accurate information regarding the conflicts between the parties. If either party cannot be honest and forthright about the issues, mediation won’t work. Concerns about candor and truthfulness arise most often in compiling the financial conflicts stemming from a divorce.
  • A party who won’t budge: The key to mediation can be a willingness to compromise. If one party is intent on sticking it to the other party, or if either party has an “all-or-nothing” mindset, refusing to compromise, it can be extremely challenging (or impossible) to find common ground and resolutions via divorce mediation.
  • No resolution: There are no guarantees that mediation will bring conflicts in divorce to an end. Sometimes, only some issues can be successfully resolved; in other cases, mediation may not produce any resolutions. In many cases, however, going through mediation can bring divorcing parties closer to common ground.

Given these and other risks of divorce mediation, it’s worth consulting with an experienced Fort Collins divorce attorney to discuss your options specific to your individual situation, needs, and goals. Your lawyer can advise you on the best options while helping you pursue them going forward.

How Long Do Mediation Services for Divorce Take with a Fort Collins Divorce Mediation Lawyer?

Every case is different, so there is no one answer to this question. Divorce mediation can wrap up fairly quickly or extend over a period of months, depending on several factors, such as:

  • The nature and number of conflicts: The more disputes a couple has—and the more complex those disputes are—the longer mediation can take.
  • The relationship between the divorcing parties: While more amicable relationships may lead to faster compromises, it’s important to remember that discussing the conflicts in divorce can be a game-changer. That can mean some amicable relationships go south. It can also result in a change of heart for combative couples, helping them learn to compromise so they can achieve common goals.
  • Each party’s mindset and goals: How open is either side to compromise? How much or what is either side willing to give up in exchange for achieving certain objectives? If either party is intent on winning every discussion point and not giving in at all, divorce mediation can take multiple sessions, and the chances of a successful resolution can be slim.

How Much Do Mediation Services for Divorce Cost with a Divorce Mediation Lawyer?

As with the amount of time the mediation process can take, the cost of the mediation will vary, depending on the situation. As a rough estimate, mediators typically charge $150 to $200 per hour. You and your spouse will share this cost, unless you choose to meet with the mediator separately, in which case you both will pay separate fees. An average mediation process may take five hours, but more complex situations can take far longer. Some cases may require less time. Some people may qualify for reduced mediation fees through the Colorado Office of Dispute Resolution.

Additionally, when you hire our divorce mediation lawyer in Fort Collins for your case, there will be a cost for this representation. We can explain the cost structure during a no-obligation consultation. Call The Cossitt Law Firm today at 970-488-1887. Our divorce mediation lawyer in Fort Collins will be ready to represent you in every aspect of the case.

How Does a Mediation Lawyer Help Me Prepare for Divorce Mediation?

The Colorado Dispute Resolution Act provides a list of items you should follow to fully prepare to go through the mediation process. Failure to prepare these items may cause the actual mediation meetings to take far longer than they need to, resulting in a greater cost to you. Additionally, if your spouse prepares properly but you do not, your spouse is going to be upset with you, leading to a more contentious mediation process.

  • Create a list of items to discuss during mediation.
  • Write down what you need to achieve during mediation.
  • Write down what you believe your spouse will want to achieve during mediation.
  • Bring any financial documents and other information the mediator requests.

Additional Preparation Steps Our Divorce Mediation Lawyer in Fort Collins Can Help You Take

In addition, when you hire our Fort Collins divorce mediation lawyer to represent you during the mediation phase, we can help you perform a few other preparation techniques that can expedite the case and, hopefully, lead to a better outcome for you.

  • Preparing for negotiations: It is important to remember throughout this process that you will not win every point in your favor during mediation. When going through mediation, you will win some of the outcomes you want, and your spouse will win some outcomes. Giving in on some issues that are not as important to you may help you win a favorable decision on issues that are vital to you. We can help you prepare for this give-and-take process.
  • Understanding the law: You need to have an understanding of how the mediation process works under Colorado law. When you know about your legal rights, it will save time during the mediation process. You won’t be questioning whether the decisions and actions of the mediator fit under the law.
  • Creating an accurate financial picture: We will make sure your financial disclosure documents are as accurate as possible. If you make mistakes on these documents, it will lengthen the mediation process, costing you more money in the long run. 
  • Figuring out a parenting plan: If you and your spouse will need to make a plan for determining child custody, creating a list of the goals you have for this plan ahead of the mediation meeting is important. Our child custody attorney in Fort Collins has particular experience with developing these kinds of plans, and we are ready to help you.
  • Writing a personal statement: Our Fort Collins divorce mediation lawyer encourages our clients to create a statement document for the mediator’s benefit. In this document, you can tell the mediator about your personal history, your hopeful outcomes, your primary areas of concern, and your goals for what will happen after the divorce. The mediator will not share this document with your spouse or your spouse’s representatives, so you can be completely candid.
  • Keeping your emotions in check: We understand that all aspects of divorce can be highly emotional, and this includes the meeting with the mediator. Avoiding emotional outbursts and treating everyone involved with respect is an important aspect of having a successful mediation process. Remember, you are seeking mediation to create a streamlined divorce process, so you do not want to derail the process by having emotional outbursts and arguing with the mediator and your spouse.

When Is Divorce Mediation Not Recommended?

In general, divorce mediation should not occur in situations when issues like the following exist:

  • Domestic violence: Both parties need to feel safe for mediation to work. If couples have a history of domestic violence, the informal setting of mediation is typically not the best option. Instead, consider hiring our Colorado domestic violence attorney to help with this type of case, which may require the formal setting of a court and a judge.
  • A significant power imbalance: Mediation should provide a neutral, level playing field for couples to hash out their conflicts. If one party in the divorce clearly has more power than the other, the court intervention, rather than mediation, will likely be the better option.
  • Mental health issues: Divorce mediation requires discussion, understanding, and the ability to clearly communicate your wants, needs, and boundaries. When mental health issues get in the way of that, it’s generally best for couples to pursue court options, instead of mediation.

Do You Need to Talk to a Fort Collins Divorce Mediation Lawyer?

No matter how simple you think an upcoming divorce process may be, it can go sideways as you dig into the issues of your case. If you talk to our Fort Collins mediation attorneys ahead of time, you can gain essential advice and information that helps you avoid common mistakes, protect your rights, and take the best steps to try to achieve your objectives. Our divorce mediation lawyers in Fort Collins can also help you with all the administrative work necessary to initiate, build, and advance your case, while representing you in all proceedings. Our help may be pivotal to achieving better outcomes from your Colorado divorce case.

To talk to an experienced, 5-star divorce lawyer in Fort Collins, CO, call (970) 488-1887 for a 100% confidential divorce consultation with The Cossitt Law Firm.


Fort Collins Divorce & Child Support Attorneys

Tom Cossit, ESQ

Tom Cossitt, Esq.

Family Law
Suzanne Ewy, Esq.

Suzanne Ewy, Esq.

Family Law
Carla Jaquess, Esq.

Carla Jaquess, Esq.

Family Law

Russell W. Sinnett, Esq.

General Counsel and Family Law
Jenna Hardesty, Paralegal

Jenna Hardesty, Paralegal

Family Law
Jenna Hardesty, Paralegal

Darryl Dale-Ferguson, Paralegal

Family Law

The Cossitt Difference: Fort Collins Divorce Attorneys That Care

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