Mediation, in many ways, is favorable compared to contentious divorce litigation. It allows both parties to express their needs and wants in a divorce without the stress of a courtroom. Many Colorado counties do require mediation prior to a court hearing, and with good reason ”“ the earlier on in the divorce process that a couple mediates, the more likely both sides are to understand each other’s needs and the more likely a satisfactory compromise can be reached. The benefit of mediation is you and your soon-to-be ex can work out a settlement that is mutually beneficial and tailored to your specific situations, and not an order from a judge imposed on you against your wishes. If children are involved, mediation can be an important first step to effectively co-parenting for years to come.
If you have never been through mediation before, you may be nervous about what it will be like. Here are some tips to help you prepare for mediation in divorce:
- When selecting a mediator, research his or her credentials to be sure they have the experience you are looking for. Mediation can be done in a day or done over the course of a few weeks, and you do not want to be stuck with a mediator who isn’t equipped to handle your situation. Make sure the mediator has experience specifically with family law cases.
- Make sure your spouse wishes to mediate (if you are not being ordered by the court.) That’s the first compromise, and finding common ground is what mediation is all about. One thing many spouses can agree upon is that mediation is almost always faster and less expensive than litigation in court.
- Come prepared ”“ have lists of all of your assets and possessions, marital as well as separate. Cars, homes, bank accounts, stock portfolios, financial records ”“ everything. Be organized with these finances when you are going into mediation.
- Know what you want, but be willing to give and take. Keep an open mind and listen to the mediator and your spouse during the sessions. A good mediator can help bring parties together in a number of ways, including the benefits of settlement and pointing out what is likely to happen if you do not come to a mutual agreement.
The family law attorneys at Divorce Matters represent spouses and parents in both mediation and litigation. We often accompany our clients in mediation sessions to advocate on their behalf. If you and your spouse have already attended mediation, our Denver divorce lawyers can draft the legal settlement paperwork and finalize the divorce properly.