Divorce and child custody issues can be complex, and being prepared for mediation can significantly increase your chances for a successful and long term resolution to your Family Law issues. 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.