Areas of Practice

Mediation / Arbitration

Mediation / Arbitration

Overview

Arbitration, Negotiation & More

Mediation is a cost-effective method that divorcing couples often utilize in reaching a settlement agreement. In mediation, you, your spouse (and respective attorneys, if any) hire a neutral third party called a mediator, who tries to resolve your case by discussing the issues and what a possible settlement would look like. Mediation is required by law in Colorado (absent domestic violence or other issues) and gives parties the ability to control and be creative with the outcome. The mediator will likely have family law experience, but cannot give you legal advice, only legal information. You can have an attorney present at mediation if you wish to advise you through the negotiation.

Mediation ensures both parties have a say in the results of their case to ensure it is balanced and in the best interests of the children, if any. Mediation is much cheaper than preparing for and attending court hearings, and anything said in mediation is confidential (meaning it cannot be brought up in court later on, if a settlement is not reached). Most divorce cases are resolved by attending mediation, as you and your spouse decide on what is fair and equitable rather than having strict court orders imposed upon you by a judge.

Each mediator has his or her own approach, but generally the session begins with a conversation about the mediation process. Usually the parties are split into two separate conference rooms, and the mediator bounces back and forth to facilitate the conversation. Any agreements you and your spouse reach are then memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding, which is signed and submitted to the Court. Typically, the Memorandum of Understanding is then incorporated into a more formal, detailed Separation Agreement.

However, if mediation fails, arbitration is another option available. Arbitration is different from mediation in that is usually binding, meaning that the arbitrator will ultimately decide the outcome of your case based upon the discussions with each party. Arbitration is private and swift. In some cases, you and your spouse may not want to have your very personal issues made a part of a public court record. Likewise, there are cases that need more immediate resolution and waiting for the Court hearing, which can take several months, isn’t possible.

More About Mediation in Denver

More About Mediation in Denver

Mediators are trained to secure outcomes that reflect compromise and the best interests of each party, as they remain neutral throughout the process.

Before beginning mediation, it is always helpful to work with your lawyer to identify issues that may present problems and develop outcomes and scenarios that provide you comfort and confidence.

Mediation ”“ like other approaches to divorce, from the conventional to the non-traditional ”“ is not for everyone. Click here for more information on whether mediation might be beneficial in your situation.

Binding Arbitration is another option available to you if mediation fails. This solution works for couples who either do not want their divorce proceedings to be a matter of public court record or are looking for a more expedient resolution. Binding arbitration must be agreed to by both parties ”“ if you cannot both agree to it, arbitration cannot be ordered. To learn more about arbitration click here.

When to Consider Arbitration

Arbitration is an efficient and less expensive alternative to going to court. It provides you with a way to resolve your disputes privately rather than through the very public judicial system. Both of you must agree to arbitration. If you cannot both agree to it, arbitration cannot be ordered. The arbiter, not a Judge, will be presented with the facts and will make a final decision. Because this is done outside of a courtroom, it is private and can be accomplished much quicker than the regular process through court. In addition, the arbitration process allows you to present your positions in a more relaxed environment. The arbitrator is a neutral third-party decision maker who will enter an arbitration award after everything is presented. A valid enforceable arbitration award removes the court’s ability to rule on the divorce and requires the Court to enforce the arbitration award.

There may be other issues present that will be a factor in determining whether or not your case is appropriate for arbitration. When resolving issues after your divorce is finalized, it is possible that your controlling order requires you to mediate and/or arbitrate your issues before bringing your issue before the Judge. These many case-specific factors must be looked at closely before moving forward with arbitration and, therefore, it is important that your attorney have experience with this area of the law.

Divorce Matters® is a Denver Colorado divorce attorney law firm. We provide information and services including the divorce process through the courts, division of marital property, assets as well as debts and parental rights regarding biological and adopted children.