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Role of the Colorado Mediator


Summary:  Divorce is a legal process. An informed mediation process should be negotiated where the parties have proper legal information. In most cases, the Mediator will be providing the legal information. The Mediator must be neutral when resolving conflicts.


Mediator is Neutral

Neutrality by the Mediator is essential. If either party believes that the Mediator is biased in favor of either party, then the Mediator will lose the ability to conduct the mediation. Both sides will distrust the Mediator if he or she favors either party.

Mediator Provides Legal Information as a Basis for the Agreements

Colorado law is the most important factor in a Colorado divorce mediation. The law is the community standard of fairness. For example, if the parties don't successfully mediate and they later resort to court litigation, then the law will be the primary standard which the judge will apply. Unless the parties are both represented by their own attorneys during the mediation, then the Mediator is the only one who can provide legal information.  Also, the Mediator should begin by insisting on full disclosure.

Mediator Identifies Options and Solutions.

The Mediator has to have family law experience (the community standard) and be actively appearing in family law court cases so that he or she can offer and discuss various alternatives which may be a good fit for the parties' circumstances and objectives. Unless the Mediator has experience with court hearings and rulings, the Mediator will be unable to provide adequate legal information or properly evaluate the various options.

Mediator Helps the Spouses Make Decisions and Deal with Conflict.

The Mediator has to offer guidance and analyze the various options. The Mediator is the only experienced person at the mediation who understands family law and the likely court orders. (Unless the parties are also represented by their own attorneys. ) As to certain decisions such as property and debt division, the decisions and final agreement can deviate from what a court is likely to do, as long as the parties' standard of fairness is met. It is also the Mediator's responsibility to deal with the conflict that is naturally a part of the divorce process. For more on dealing with conflict, look at the pages on the mediation process.

The Mediator Should be an Actively-Practicing Attorney

If the mediator is a licensed Colorado attorney, then he or she can prepare all of your legal documents and guide the parties through the legal court process. If the Mediator is not an attorney, then the Mediator can probably only prepare a written Memorandum of Understanding as to the mediated agreement and a child support worksheet. However, a non-attorney cannot prepare other legal documents and cannot advise the parties on the legal court process. If a non-attorney Mediator is used, someone else will have to prepare the legal documents.

What About a "Certified" Mediator?

There really is no such thing as a "Certified" Mediator, even though some Mediators claim to be "Certified." The state of Colorado does not "certify", license, or regulate Mediators. Anyone can call themselves a Mediator. There are no training or educational requirements. All certifications are provided by private individuals in exchange for a fee.  A "Certification" is a title which is purchased. A claim of certification is misleading, unless that claim is accompanied by a disclosure that the certification is provided by a private individual and Colorado does not provide the certification.

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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