Many Colorado counties require mediation prior to the final hearing of any contested divorce. Some couples also choose mediation as an alternative to litigation to resolve issues like child custody or alimony. Mediation offers certain advantages, especially when it comes to cost and time savings.
With mediation, a divorcing couple works with or without their lawyers to come to an agreement. They’re assisted by a divorce mediator, an unbiased third party whose goal is to promote cooperation and conflict resolution.
The mediator can’t make decisions for the spouses, but they’ll provide a neutral setting where a couple can freely discuss the specifics of their divorce.
When Is the Best Time to Undergo Mediation?
The timing of mediation is crucial. It has to be done after all the issues have been comprehensively vetted and due diligence has been properly completed.
For example, before entering mediation, the couple should have already done their financial disclosure to make sure that the parties have a clear picture when they’re negotiating property, asset, and debt division.
Mediation must also be done before the couple goes to trial so they don’t have to deal with the fees and expenses involved in trial preparation and court intervention.
What Issues Does Divorce Mediation Resolve?
Essentially, any issue—no matter how sensitive or challenging they may be—that can be resolved in court may also be brought up and resolved in a divorce mediation. Some of these issues are:
- Child custody and visitation
- Child and spousal support
- Grandparent Visitation (if the Grandparents have properly intervened into a case and have been made parties to the case)
- Division of marital assets and debt
Do You Need to File for Divorce Before Undergoing Mediation?
No. The couple can come to mediation without filing a divorce case before the Colorado courts. Filing a case before entering mediation may be more advantageous, especially when time is of the essence.
Colorado law imposes a 91-day waiting period after the petition has been filed before a decree of dissolution may be issued. Mediation can take place during this 91-day period, so the parties can reduce any delay in the process.
What Happens During Divorce Mediation?
One of the drawbacks of a litigated, adversarial divorce is that both spouses are relatively isolated from each other, where they are generally advised by their lawyers not to communicate directly.
During mediation, the spouses will negotiate on their ongoing concerns through an open discussion. The mediator will be there to provide assistance and facilitate a respectful and civil conflict resolution.
Although a mediator may choose to meet the spouses separately throughout the process, most mediators will find opportunities to set up a joint meeting where both parties can freely discuss their individual concerns.
If there are any security or safety concerns, or if there’s a court order restraining direct contact with each other, the parties can meet with the mediator separately.
What Happens If Mediation Fails?
If the two spouses cannot come to an agreement, the case will go back to court. The judge will then review the case and decide on the pending issues. Some couples may also decide to restart the process by hiring a new mediator.
The role of the mediator is crucial. A good divorce mediator should be able to provide a collaborative setting where the parties can determine the settlement terms and decide what works best for their family. This is why it’s important for the couple to choose a mediator that they can trust and feel comfortable with.
Hire an Experienced Colorado Divorce Mediator
At Goldman Law, LLC, we have made it our personal mission to help families move forward in a healthy way through a divorce.
If you want a competent and experienced mediator to guide you through the process, call us now at (720) 845-6115 or drop us a note via this online form. We guarantee confidential and compassionate support during this difficult time.