Many couples considering a divorce or legal separation wonder if mediation is right for them and how it works. Divorce mediation is where a neutral individual (the mediator) helps to negotiate with the couple and lead them into a mutual agreement for settling their case. A divorce mediator cannot represent either side nor can they offer legal advice – their role is to help both individuals determine their divorce settlement, which is then submitted to the court for review.
Mediation is a confidential process and involves settling any disputes between the two individuals. Couples who work together to mediate a mutually acceptable divorce agreement typically experience less conflict with their ex than those who fight in court to have the terms enacted. Children can also benefit from the mediation process. Divorce mediation sets a strong example of parents working together to solve their disagreements and illustrates the importance of respect. Through mediation, parents are also able to fully address their concerns about child custody, child support payments, and visitation or living arrangements.
Divorce mediation is successful when both individuals are willing to listen to and understand the other person’s concerns and, with the mediator’s assistance, address those concerns in a way that satisfies the interests of both sides.
If you and your spouse or partner are wondering if divorce mediation could be beneficial, here are some additional facts to consider:
- Even when there are financial conflicts or feelings of betrayal, many divorce cases can utilize and benefit from mediation.
- Working with a divorce mediator can be less expensive than legal counsel, but if you choose to involve outside experts (such attorneys, financial advisors, accountants…) as part of your mediation, the price will increase.
- Because both parties need to be actively involved in the mediation process, it is often a faster way to finalize a divorce. For couples who are ready and wanting to expedite the dissolution of their marriage or union, settling through mediation can be mutually rewarding.
While divorce mediation can be a great choice for many couples, there are a few notes of caution and reasons why you may not wish to consider this option.
- Do you find yourself always giving in to your spouse’s demands? If unequal power dynamics are at play in your relationship, you may be better served with a divorce attorney to advocate for you.
- Are you so enraged with your spouse that you cannot understand their needs or perspectives? Mediation requires both sides to listen to and be willing to resolve their issues.
- Is there any emotional or physical abuse in your relationship history that would prevent you from speaking up for your needs?
- Do you believe your spouse or partner is planning to take or dispose of jointly held assets and is not willing to divide financial holdings in a fair and equitable manner?
- Are you concerned that your child or children might be taken out of the region without your consent? Do you have long-standing or serious concerns about your spouse or partner caring for or sharing custody of children?
- Do you believe that your partner or spouse is not willing or interested in using the divorce mediation process in a serious way? For example, you may have concerns that the process will be used to create additional “drama” and arguments, or that mediation is being used as a delay tactic?
If you have concerns about any of the descriptors listed above, be sure to consult with a reputable divorce attorney, family lawyer, or divorce mediator before agreeing to enter into mediation.
Fort Collins Resources for Divorce Mediation
If you and your spouse will be filing for divorce or legal separation in the Northern Colorado or Fort Collins area, there are a number of local resources that may help you to better understand the divorce mediation process and assist you in locating the best divorce mediator for your case. The following websites may be helpful:
- The Colorado Center for Divorce Mediation offers answers to many questions about the divorce mediation process as well as a listing of certified mediators and resources for families.
- Laura Monty Law, based in Fort Collins, CO, offers family law mediation services, including divorce mediation, to unrepresented parties as well as those represented by legal counsel.
- Mediate.com offers information about the mediation process and provides a listing of all certified mediators and their qualification serving in Northern Colorado.
When you take the time to learn about divorce mediation and the process it involves, you’ll be one step closer to determining if it is the best path for finalizing your divorce or legal separation.