Mediation is a dispute-resolution method in which two parties attempt to negotiate a settlement with the assistance of a professional, neutral mediator specially trained in helping parties in conflict resolve differences in position and navigate through communication impasses. Mediation can be a good idea for divorcing spouses, offering the likelihood of less stress and lower legal fees than a divorce trial.
As we mentioned in a previous post, some Colorado courts may require the parties to a divorce to go through mediation before trial to see whether some or all issues might be resolved without going before the judge. After all, if they can negotiate to agreement on an issue, even if it requires compromise by each party, they both will have input and control, and get something, rather than the possibility that a judge could decide the issue in a way less desirable to either.
Through mediated resolution, divorcing parties can come up with creative resolutions to issues and future family arrangements that they otherwise may not have considered and that is unlikely to be ordered by a judge in court.
Divorcing parties could also proactively decide to enter into private mediation in which they hire an agreed-upon mediator. It is advisable that each party in mediation also have his or her own divorce attorney to provide counsel as the mediation proceedings progress. For example, a lawyer can help the client take a position on an issue by informing the client what Colorado law provides and how the matter is likely to be decided if it went before a judge.
The Huffington Post recently published a blog that provides information about the mediation process and the potential benefits it offers divorcing spouses. For example, it is more private than a court proceeding and generally more "civilized" than court, where testimony from third parties may be difficult to hear.
Speak to an attorney about whether mediation should receive serious consideration in your own divorce negotiations and to have your questions answered.