Over the past several years, divorce mediation has grown in popularity as a dispute-resolution process that helps couples settle their differences with a minimal amount of legal involvement while pursuing a divorce.
Divorce mediators help during a divorce by offering a structured process that reduces the emotional friction that often occurs during divorce settlement conversations. The divorce mediator serves as an impartial third party to help guide the couple toward a compromise they both find acceptable.
About Divorce Mediation
A divorce mediator is not a judge or arbitrator and they cannot make any decisions regarding what the divorce settlement should be. Their sole job is to help guide the negotiations. This is an important role as the divorce process can often bring out the worst in people. The mediator helps to direct interactions and conversations so that emotions and expectations remain stable and reasonable.
While divorce mediation may have less legal involvement than a contested divorce, it is not a completely attorney-free process. With a mediated settlement, a lawyer may still need to be hired to file the divorce through the state’s court system. And while it is not required, it is advisable for both sides to have the mediation settlement reviewed by their own attorneys before finalizing.
In some divorce cases, one partner may be wanting a settlement while the other would prefer to try to save the marriage. In other situations, angry emotions may be clouding one or both spouses’ rational judgement. For divorce mediation and the mediator to be successful, both individuals must be willing and motivated to reach a final settlement.
Our Divorce Mediation Tips
You don’t need to like your spouse, but you need to stay focused on the end result.
A great many couples that come to divorce mediation have hurt and angry feelings. Even if you no longer like your spouse as a person, it’s important that both of you work with the mediator to keep your conversations productive and focused on the end result – getting a settlement in place.
Feel comfortable knowing that divorce mediation is 100% accepted by the American Bar Association.
In 2000, the American Bar Association accepted divorce mediation and collaborated with national mediation associations to develop the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation.
Choose a divorce mediator with experience.
When searching for a divorce mediator, be sure to look for those with a solid knowledge of your state’s divorce laws. Depending on your situation, it may also be helpful to look for a mediator who has an advanced degree in mental health or law. The mediator should also have undergone mediation training, such as the 40 hour mediation training offered through the Colorado Bar Association.
Understand the role of the mediator.
Divorce mediators are not there to help save your marriage or provide therapy to you or your spouse. The mediator’s role is to help you come up with a mutually agreeable divorce settlement agreement.
Divorce mediation is an effective way to protect your children from a court battle.
In divorce mediation the couple thoroughly reviews and discusses both asset/debt division and child custody – two areas that are frequently very sensitive subjects. Couples who can put aside their anger towards one another and determine a strategy for future parenting have a greater likelihood for maintaining long-term, positive relationships with their children.
Divorce Mediation Isn’t For Everyone
It is also important to keep in mind that divorce mediation is not an ideal solution for every couple looking to divorce, and it is not an ideal tool for every situation. Some instances when mediation is not appropriate would include:
- Couples with a history of physical or emotional abuse.
- Couples (or an individual) struggling with impaired judgment due to drug or alcohol addiction or pervasive mental health issues.
- When one spouse is hiding assets from the other.
If you and your spouse begin divorce mediation, and discover that it is not helping you to reach a settlement, you do have the option to stop and move forward with a contested divorce. However, undergoing divorce mediation can save time and money, as well as can protect children from the negativity that surrounds legal court battles.
Contact Laura Monty Law
If you and your spouse will be filing for divorce in Northern Colorado or reside in the Larimer County or Fort Collins region, and want to explore a variety of divorce options, do not hesitate to contact Laura Monty Law. We provide collaborative divorce representation, divorce mediation services, legal advising for uncontested divorces and contested divorces, and a full array of divorce and family law services to meet your family’s needs. We strongly believe in taking a compassionate approach to family law, and recognize that every situation is unique.