Divorce Mediation or Arbitration?

Some people want to avoid going to court, and we can’t blame them. Testifying in court is stressful, and court proceedings are also public. Do you really want to air your dirty laundry for the enjoyment of other people?

Interest in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has increased over the past few years, and two of the principal ADR techniques are mediation and arbitration. As experienced divorce lawyers, we have experience with both mediation and arbitration in Denver. But is either right for you?

Mediation””Like Negotiation but with Help

Mediation is a popular ADR technique for couples looking to reach an agreement so that they can speed up their divorce. If you can agree on child custody, child support, and the division of marital property, then you can get divorced much quicker than if you need a judge to decide these issues.

This is where mediation comes in. During mediation, you meet with a neutral person, called the mediator. He or she listens to the dispute and helps each side hear where the other is coming from. The mediator is not a judge. She does not pick a winner or loser or assign blame for the divorce in any way. Instead, she helps facilitate discussion so that the couple can reach a compromise.

Once you reach an agreement, you write it up in a settlement agreement and submit it to the court. Even reaching agreement on a few issues can streamline a messy divorce.

Arbitration””Like a Court Trial, but Private

Another form of alternative dispute resolution is arbitration. It is more like a trial than mediation. In arbitration, you submit evidence to an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators). The arbitrator is often a former judge or an experienced attorney, and he will listen to the evidence. You can have witnesses testify and submit documents, just as you would in court. In the end, the arbitration will decide the issue by issuing an award in favor of one party.

One advantage of arbitration is privacy. The proceedings are closed. You ultimately need a judge to confirm the award, but the judge will not hear testimony on the contested issues. If you have a high net worth or want to maintain privacy, then arbitration could be a benefit.

Experienced Denver Divorce Lawyers

ADR is not appropriate in all situations, but it might be just what you are looking for in your divorce. To discuss your options, please contact Divorce Matters today. We offer affordable consultations, which you can schedule by calling 720-580-6745 or submitting an online message.

Will Infidelity Impact Your Divorce in Colorado?

Adultery happens. In fact, marital experts estimate that around 20% of husbands and 13% of wives have been unfaithful at some point in their marriage.

Fortunately, most marriages don’t end because of adultery. Instead, adultery often occurs after other problems have eaten away at the foundation of trust and affection that once underpinned a healthy marriage. Many couples can survive adultery””if they believe the marriage is worth saving.

If you are divorcing, you might wonder what effect your spouse’s cheating will have. Actually, infidelity plays very little role in Colorado divorces.

Adultery is Not a Ground for Divorce in Colorado

Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. This means that a judge will grant a divorce if one spouse can show the marriage has “irretrievably broken down.” The reason for the breakdown is really irrelevant, so it doesn’t matter if your spouse has been cheating. Usually, a desire by one spouse to divorce is enough to show that a marriage cannot be salvaged.

Adultery Rarely Matters for Alimony or Property Division

Judges usually award alimony for a limited amount of time or for a limited purpose, such as getting an education. In rarer cases, a judge can award alimony for long-term, such as after a very long marriage.

Many people want a judge to “punish” their spouse for cheating and hope to get alimony by flagging the adultery for the judge’s attention. But the laws in Colorado aren’t really set up that way. And the purpose of alimony isn’t to punish, in any event.

Infidelity might matter in one narrow situation: your spouse has wasted marital assets on a paramour. In this case, a judge might consider not so much the adultery but the economic effects of this relationship when deciding alimony or the division of marital property.

Infidelity Rarely Impacts Child Custody

Certainly, we can’t say that infidelity “never” matters in child custody disputes. But it is likewise wrong to say that if you have been unfaithful, you’ll lose custody. Judges typically only pay attention if an adulterous relationship somehow poses a threat of harm to the children. For example, a new boyfriend might have a criminal record as long as his leg and currently be living with you, in which case a judge might feel less inclined to award you custody.

Contact Divorce Matters

Adultery may be morally wrong, but it is of little legal significance in a Colorado divorce. To discuss your case, and whether you can get the divorce you want, please contact a Denver division of marital property & assets lawyer today.