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A Good Mediation Process - It Works!

 
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Summary: Colorado divorce mediation should be a simple and predictable process. As long as both parties are honest with full disclosure and do not play any power games..

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Talk to Your Spouse About Mediation

If your spouse accepts the reality that a divorce or legal separation is coming, then your spouse will agree to mediate if he or she understands the advantages of mediation. Information about mediation is freely available.

Select Your Mediator Based on a Free IInitial Consultation

Many mediators offer free initial consultations. Both of you should go in for an initial consultation to see if you are comfortable with the mediator and his or her approach and procedures.  You should always select an attorney who is active in court cases so that the mediator knows what you could expect if you choose to waste your money and time litigating in court.  Your final agreement should be based on the law, since a divorce or other family law matter is a legal process.

Gather Basic Information on Money, Other Property, and Bills

Colorado law is clear about the information which both parties must provide to each other and to the court. This same information should be exchanged prior to the first mediation session. Use the standard Colorado Rule 16.2 required disclosures such as bank account statements, credit card statements, pay stubs, etc.

Discuss Possible Agreements

Determine any and all issues which can be agreed upon prior to mediation. Such as the division of assets and debts. And co-parenting plans. Most parties have more areas of agreement than they initially realize.   Because the natural focus is on differences, rather than agreement.

Documents to Take to the First Mediation Session - or Provide to the Mediator Earlier

The documents which should be provided at or before the first paid session are the basic Rule 16.2 disclosures and any questionnaire that the Mediator uses. If the Mediator needs more information, a request for it will be made.

The First Paid Session

Both parties should meet together with the Mediator. The Mediator will discuss the mediation process and the ground rules as to the process. All agreed issues will be discussed, as well as any known disagreements.

Additional Sessions

A typical mediation case takes 3 to 5 sessions. During each session, the parties will meet together with the Mediator. Sometimes, in high-conflict cases, the parties will not meet together and separate sessions will be used. During these sessions, problem-solving techniques will be used to make agreements on all issues. If another professional is needed, such as a parenting coordinator, consulting attorney, or business appraiser, then the parties can agree on the selection of and payment to that expert. Sometimes a co-mediator can be helpful.

The Final Agreement and Other Legal Documents

Once an agreement is reached on all issues, a final separation agreement or memorandum of understanding is provided by the mediator. Generally a signed agreement is enforceable by Colorado courts, as long as it is not determined to be legally unfair. The other legal documents to be filed with the court can be prepared by the mediator attorney or by the parties.

The legal documents should be filed with the court all at the same time.  Then, after the passage of 90 days, the judge will sign the final Decree and applicable orders.

Minor Children's Needs

The standard used by Colorado courts to make co-parenting orders is the "best interest of the children." If the parties cannot agree on a co-parenting plan, then they may have to hire a parenting coordinator other family expert.  But I recommend that such experts should be avoided.

Resolving Conflict in Mediation

Problems and high conflict are naturally a part of mediation. Strong disagreements or high conflict should not prevent the successful use of mediation.

 

   
     
GIF The material on this web site is for informational purposes only. This law firm practices only in Colorado. An attorney-client relationship is established only when an agreement as to the scope of representation and fees has been signed and a retainer paid. Colorado law may consider these web site materials to be attorney advertising. GIF
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