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Divorce FAQ's by (303)650-1750

         Why does divorce mediation work?

Absolutely. Parents and children's needs change. We frequently assist couples (many of whom are new to mediation and did not use mediation in their divorce) to "tune-up" or reconsider parenting or support agreements that once made a great deal of sense, but later require changes to reflect new circumstances.
Divorce Resolutions, LLC, Colorado Center for Mediation

Ordinarily, there is great power in the dialogue of both parties present in the same room. In fact, this is one of the frustrations of a litigated or courtroom approach to divorce: in adversarial divorce, parties remain relatively isolated from each other and are unable to make known directly their views and to hear their spouse's or co-parent's views.

However, most mediators find great opportunities in occasionally breaking during a joint meeting to discuss with both parties individually, the emerging issues and their separate concerns. This is an ordinary and routine (and often, quite powerful) part of the mediation process and does not signify the parties are failing in their efforts.

Of course, where there are safety and security concerns (or where the parties are restrained from direct contact by Court Orders), and most often, when parties have counsel attending with them, mediation can proceed by "shuttle" between rooms.
Divorce Resolutions, LLC, Colorado Center for Mediation

No. You do not need to file your divorce or parentage case with the Colorado Courts before coming to mediation (although you may choose to do so).

A single form known as the "Petition" (available in the Tools & Resources section of this website) is required to begin your Colorado divorce. (A similar form, "Petition in Paternity," also available on this website, is required to begin a Colorado parentage case, establishing parenting rights and responsibilities for never married parents.) Colorado law requires that parties to a divorce wait ninety days after the Petition is filed jointly, or after service on the non-filing party is made, before they are eligible to obtain a Decree dissolving their marriage.

Recent local Colorado court procedures ("Case Management Orders") often impose certain time lines for paperwork and even court "status hearing" obligations on divorcing parties who have filed. You may wish to discuss with each other and with the mediator's assistance in a first session, how you wish to proceed with the formal Colorado court process, including the timing of filing and related issues. Many couples will file their Colorado divorce after a session or two in mediation, to more easily manage their court obligations.

If you feel insecure about your spouse or co-parent's intentions, filing jointly (or with service) does impose certain restrictions (collectively called an "automatic temporary injunction") and seeks to maintain the status quo of Colorado divorcing parties. In such a case, it is highly recommended that you discuss these protections (and whether they are desirable in your case) with an attorney. If that is the case, you may wish to file without further delay. Mediation of your case, of course, is still possible
Divorce Resolutions, LLC, Colorado Center for Mediation

During the process of mediation, additional information may be gathered from many sources. You may even agree to hire a neutral consultant to assist in your work in mediation with divorce issues requiring special expertise, such as the value of a home or property, a business or a retirement plan, or issues involving your children's special needs. (You can agree in advance that this person's opinion will be used only in mediation, with the further benefit of confidentiality and usually reduced costs.)

Of course, many clients are able to discuss and agree on such matters in mediation, without any outside assistance.
Divorce Resolutions, LLC, Colorado Center for Mediation

Many, although not all, Colorado counties do require mediation before any contested court hearing.

Of course, there are great advantages to mediating early in the process, before parties' positions harden and workable options are foreclosed. Divorcing parties and couples with parenting issues generally are more motivated when they self-refer themselves to mediation as well.
Divorce Resolutions, LLC, Colorado Center for Mediation

Minimizing Distortion
If you have ever played the game of passing a message around a circle of friends, you know that communicating through third parties often results in distortion of the message. Many couples are astonished to learn in mediation that their spouse or co-parent's viewpoint is not at all as it was represented to them and understood by others - even by their own divorce lawyer's office. In divorce and family mediation with both parties present, intent and meaning can be clarified immediately before misunderstandings compromise a couple's efforts to resolve issues.

Minimizing Inefficiency and Cost
As noted earlier, obviously, a great deal of time and money may be lost in communicating through third parties as well. (Imagine the following: a message from you to your divorce attorney's secretary is forwarded to his or her paralegal and then to your attorney. The attorney speaks with your spouse's attorney's staff, then to your spouse's attorney, then to your spouse. A reply is then relayed in the same loop only in reverse!) This can expend a lot of time and effort and unnecessarily escalate costs. Mediation can accelerate discussions and resolutions.
Divorce Resolutions, LLC, Colorado Center for Mediation

Co-mediation involves the choice of the parties to also use a second mediator, generally of complementary gender and professional background. With co-mediation, a skilled law and mental health background and male/female balance is provided the parties.
Divorce Resolutions, LLC, Colorado Center for Mediation

Mediation is simply an amazingly powerful process.

Accomplished divorce mediators are able to focus on the real concerns of spouses and parents (their "interests") and not merely their view of what is required to protect themselves and/or their children (their "positions"). Divorce mediation works because the parties can directly hear the other party's concerns and, with the assistance of the neutral mediator, accommodate those concerns without unnecessarily compromising their own interests.

Freed from the role of acting as an advocate for a single party (the ethical obligation of an attorney), a mediator can envision options that neither party (nor their counsel) imagined!
Divorce Resolutions, LLC, Colorado Center for Mediation

As with all forms of dispute resolution, divorce mediation involves some risk.
  • To make good agreements, parties need adequate and accurate information, of course. As a less formal process than adversarial divorce, mediation may not be suited for you when you have substantial concerns about your spouse or co-parent's integrity or candor in financial disclosures.
  • Divorce mediation may be disfavored or present special challenges with parties having vast differences in their power (financial sophistication, bargaining savvy, and most significantly, where there is a history of partner violence or abuse).
  • Divorce mediation may also be ill-advised with parties having a history or present difficulties with medical or mental health issues or with substance abuse.
  • Disclosure that any of these issues may be at play in your relationship is vital to any skilled mediator's evaluation of whether such a case is appropriate for divorce mediation and in structuring the process to remain safe, and constructive.
  • Finally, of course, there is the possibility that you cannot reach a mediated resolution of your divorce or family issues.
Colorado law makes absolutely confidential your discussions in mediation. Accordingly, if you are in the minority of couples who - because of the special issues listed above, or for other reasons - cannot resolve their divorce or parenting issues in mediation, your case is not prejudiced and your options are not compromised when you turn to the litigated or court model of divorce.

In such a case your "risk" in trying mediation is limited to the costs and time of an initial session.

Choosing an experienced family mediator is the best way to minimize these risks. And, of course, adversarial divorce has many of these same risks, as well as other risks!
Divorce Resolutions, LLC, Colorado Center for Mediation


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