Family law issues can be complex. Dealing with all the elements involved in a divorce or child custody case can be frustrating. It is not uncommon for both sides to be angry with each other and refuse to compromise. Many of these cases result in nasty court battles in which a lot of money is spent and nobody really wins.
Family battles do not have to be decided by a judge in court. There is a way in which both you and the other party can get what you want. It is called mediation.
Mediation in family law involves the use of a neutral third party, called a mediator, to help resolve the issues you have in your divorce. Whether you cannot agree on property division, child custody, or any other element, a mediator can help you reach an agreement on major issues.
A divorce can be a rough time, but how you proceed with it can make all the difference. You can be combative or you can take the high road and be cooperative. Here is a look at mediation and how it can benefit you.
What You Need to Know About Mediation in Family Law
In divorce mediation, you and your spouse meet with a neutral mediator to discuss and resolve the issues in your divorce. These sessions often take place in an office, although they are sometimes conducted online. Mediators are trained in the field of law; however, they cannot give you legal advice during the process. They are just there to facilitate the process and answer questions. Your mediator should let you know what to expect before the mediation starts. Plus, they will need background information from you, such as contact information, length of marriage, and whether or not you have children. They will then explain the procedures and answer your questions.
The mediator helps each spouse outline their needs and interests. This includes discussing desired outcomes, reasons for wanting these outcomes, and their individual concerns, goals, and values. Doing this helps to frame the core goal of the mediation: a settlement that addresses each spouse’s most important interests.
Once the mediator has helped the spouses frame the issues and interests, it is time to negotiate. Negotiations begin with possible ways to settle each issue in the divorce. With the mediator’s help, the spouses brainstorm and evaluate their options. Coming up with a list of solutions that might work almost always involves compromises and concessions on both sides.
Most mediators will emphasize problem-solving and negotiation. The goal is to find settlement options that address each spouse’s most important interests so that both parties can win to some degree. When spouses reach an agreement through mediation, most mediators will draft and file a divorce settlement agreement with the court.
You may wonder: Do I need a lawyer for mediation? The answer is typically no. In fact, many mediators discourage it because they do not want to create tension. However, if your spouse has a lawyer, then you should have one as well, or else you will be at a disadvantage in the negotiations. At the very least, you should consult with an attorney to advise you ahead of time and help you prepare for mediation.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation is much better than litigation in many ways. Here are some advantages:
- It is more peaceful. A divorce doesn’t have to turn into a war. When you choose mediation, you can resolve your issues without yelling. You can do it amicably.
- It is cheaper. Going to court can cost thousands of dollars in lawyer fees and other costs. Mediation costs under $10,000. Going to court may cost 10 times as much.
- It is more efficient. The court systems are overwhelmed. Getting a court date could take a year or longer. Mediation, on the other hand, is much quicker and can help your issues get resolved in just a few months.
- It is better for the children. Divorce is hard on the children, especially when their parents are constantly fighting. When you choose mediation, you can resolve your issues as a parent and focus on your kids’ best interests.
Contact Us Today
Mediation is a great way to decide on various aspects of divorce, property division, child custody, and child support without having to go through litigation and dealing with courtroom drama.
When you need effective family law representation in Colorado, turn to Tanis McGonegal. Our Colorado family law attorneys will help you accomplish your goals. To schedule a consultation with our office, call (303) 465-4605 or fill out the online form.