Colorado requires that most couples try to resolve divorce issues through mediation before going to trial. The goal is for the divorcing parties to amicably settle as many decisions as possible before having the courts impose a verdict.
Many divorcing couples do not know what to expect from the divorce process as a whole, let alone mediation. What should you know before you enter mediation?
What are the main differences between litigation and mediation?
- Power to determine the outcome. In mediation, a third-party mediator works with you, your ex-spouse and your respective lawyers to settle issues in a way that all parties accept. Unlike a judge in litigation, the mediator cannot impose an outcome. The mediator may offer suggestions, or come up with creative solutions, but the couple is not required to take their advice. You decide what you want to do, and what is in your family’s best interests. If you both are unable to agree on a decision, you can bring it before a judge to decide.
- Simpler and less expensive. Mediation is a simpler, shorter and less expensive process than litigation. Couples that are able to resolve their disputes through mediation are typically able to save time and money during the divorce process.
Why might mediation not work for you?
Mediation’s success depends upon a couple’s ability to work together to craft a final decision. If you and your spouse have a contentious relationship, it may be hard for you to agree upon an outcome.
Divorcing couples are commonly resentful or harbor ill-will towards their soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you are trying to have a divorce settlement that punishes your ex-spouse, there is a good chance that they will not agree to the proposed divorce.
Why would you want to resolve disputes in mediation?
Other than the fact that mediation can save you time and money, it can also help rebuild a positive relationship with your ex-spouse. Even though your marriage is ending, you may want to avoid an adversarial relationship. This is especially true for parents, who will probably have to interact on a regular basis in order to determine childcare arrangements and other important matters.
If you are entering the divorce process, contact an attorney who can walk you through mediation, and help you resolve any decisions that you are unable to settle using an alternative resolution method.