Mediation & Arbitration
Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, refers to any means of settling a dispute outside the confines of a courtroom. In the context of divorce, two alternative dispute resolution methods can be highly effective at helping couples resolve their differences in a relatively fast and affordable manner. Those two methods are as follows:
In Colorado, divorcing couples are often required to attend mediation by law. Divorce mediation is an out-of-court alternative dispute resolution method that is overseen by a specially trained, third-party mediator. The primary job of the mediator is to facilitate discussion between the parties in an attempt to resolve important matters such as division of marital property, child custody, child support, etc.
All spouses attending mediation are entitled to be represented by a mediation attorney, who is an experienced family law professional who can help steer the conversation toward a productive and amicable outcome for their client. The mediation attorney is tasked with making sure their client’s wishes are represented throughout the entire process.
There are various advantages of divorce mediation, including:
Collaboration – Mediators are highly skilled at helping divorcing couples iron out their differences in a collaborative way. This generally translates into less stress and, for parents, a cooperative atmosphere that lays the groundwork for cooperative co-parenting after the divorce is final.
Scheduling – Divorce mediation is a procedure that you and your spouse can fit into your busy schedules, instead of relying on openings on a busy court calendar to match up with your own busy calendar. Mediation can also take place at any location you and your spouse mutually agree on.
Affordability – Spending time arguing over matters inside a courtroom can quickly become expensive. Mediation, by contrast, allows for a calmer setting over a shorter period of time. This saves both time and money.
Privacy – Mediation serves as a private forum for discussing highly personal matters, as opposed to airing out the dirty laundry in front of the entire courtroom.
Control – Divorcing couples who engage in mediation naturally have more control over their divorce agreement. Although it requires compromise, mediation is a dispute resolution method that gives both parties the power to shape important issues, rather than have a judge decide those issues for them.
The alternative dispute resolution method of arbitration is generally used when divorcing couples in Colorado reach an impasse in their negotiation discussions, yet still want to avoid a courtroom battle. Arbitration is a private proceeding that is held before an arbitrator, who is commonly a retired judge with family law experience.
Both parties in a divorce must agree to submit their case to arbitration for the process to take place. Although similar to mediation in many respects, arbitration differs in that it is a process that ultimately leads to a binding decision from the arbitrator. Think of an arbitrator as a private judge. They will hear the details of the case from both sides in a more private forum and then rule according to what they think is best.
An arbitration attorney should be able to help you determine whether scheduling an arbitration would be the most productive path forward in your divorce case, especially if mediation hasn’t been effective. As with mediation attorneys, arbitration attorneys have your best interests at heart when representing you during the arbitration process.
Contact Divorce Matters
Divorce Matters is a Colorado-proud family law firm with a strong track record of successfully representing clients in both mediation and arbitration proceedings, as well as in courtroom divorce litigation. The mediation and arbitration lawyers at Divorce Matters are seasoned legal professionals who are deeply committed to helping their clients divorce with dignity and get a fresh start. Our family law attorneys bring more than 100 years of combined experience to the table and proudly provide compassionate legal representation to divorcing men and women throughout Colorado.