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What is divorce mediation and is it right for us?

Have you and your spouse decided that your marriage has come to an end? Do you have young children? In that case, you may agree that you want to make the transition from one household to two as easy as possible on your children. You may know that you want to continue to raise your children together despite the fact that you want to divorce.

If this sounds familiar, then you and your spouse may be in a place where you want to work out your divorce issues on your own, but need a little extra help to make sure you stay on track. Mediation could help you reach a settlement on your own and without court intervention.

The basics of mediation

The mediator helps you and your spouse come to an agreement that satisfies both of you. He or she does not act as a judge or make decisions on your behalf. The mediator's suggestions can help you think "outside the box" in order to create an agreement that fits the unique circumstances of your family and meets your family's needs.

Each of you can meet with the mediator separately to give him or her an idea of what you expect out of the process. This helps the mediator keep both of you on track if disagreements arise.

The benefits of mediation

Mediation often reduces the costs associated with a divorce since you won't spend time battling in court. It often reduces the stress that the traditional adversarial process creates as well. This could mean a more peaceful transition for both of you and the children. If you and your spouse aren't constantly arguing or bitter with each other, your children may feel more secure.

Mediation fosters an atmosphere of cooperation and compromise, which often serves you and the other parent after the divorce as well. When the children see this, they can relax knowing that their parents can get along even if they argue sometimes. Many couples who use mediation end up agreeing to a joint custody arrangement, which means that the children often have more access to both parents.

The need for an attorney

The mediator does not replace an attorney. Including an attorney who keeps your best interests in mind and protects your rights in the mediation sessions helps ensure that you consider every advantage and disadvantage of your decisions. In addition, once you reach an agreement, it needs to be documented and presented to the court for approval. Obtaining court approval requires the agreement to meet with current Colorado laws and public policies regarding divorce, custody and support. An attorney can increase the chances that your agreement will meet with court approval.

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