Mediation is a cost-effective way to resolve dissolution and parenting time agreements. The process involves a facilitator who works with a couple to assist them in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement. That does not mean that each party receives everything that they would like to have, as compromise is often necessary to reach agreement. Mediation is a voluntary, structured process that occurs outside of a court setting. Although courts often order an attempt at mediation, that does not mean that parties have to enter into a mediated agreement. Mediated agreements are especially beneficial in preserving relationships for the benefit of children.Memorandum of Understanding
Mediation offers the parties an opportunity to create their own agreement rather than deferring to a court decision. Mediation negotiations are confidential. They are not admissible as evidence in court to protect the ability of the parties to make settlement offers without fear of having the offers held against them if no agreement results. If parties reach agreement, then the agreement is documented in a Memorandum of Understanding which the parties can then request a court to issue as an order. Even if a couple does not reach a full agreement, it is possible to reach partial agreement and narrow issues for court review.Confidentiality
With a few exceptions, mediation is confidential and the mediator cannot discuss your mediation with others without your consent. If you execute a signed agreement, the agreement does become public, unless both parties agree to keep the agreement confidential.Mediators
There is no mandatory certification requirement for mediators in Colorado, however many mediators attend a voluntary 40-hour training and it is helpful to find a mediator who has this foundation. Many mediators and mental health professionals or attorneys. Depending on the facts of your situation one or the other may be more appropriate. Parties may bring attorneys with them to mediation if they wish.Formats
There are various styles of mediation. Mediation is often not required by courts in cases of domestic violence due to the probable power imbalance in negotiation. Mediation can be conducted with both parties in the same room or in separate rooms with the mediator going back and forth between the rooms. The level of conflict often dictates the format. The number and length of sessions is up to the parties. Some parties may prefer to attempt to resolve everything in one long session, and others may prefer multiple shorter sessions and time to think and reflect between each. Mediation allows the ability for the parties to customize conflict resolution.Confidential Mediation Statement
It is useful for the parties to provide a confidential statement to the mediator prior to mediation to make the mediator aware of their goals and priorities and background facts. This makes the mediation more effective and can avoid antagonizing the other party by sharing facts with the mediator that could impede settlement negotiations. The statement can identify areas where negotiation may occur and where a client does not wish to negotiate. This is also an appropriate place to identify any impediments such as lack of disclosure. The mediator should also be provided with copies of the pleadings as well as asset/debt spreadsheets, sworn financial statements and support worksheets.
Turn change into opportunity? At Janko Family Law we know how to work with you to mediate your own solution. We are committed to pursuing settlement to preserve family relations to the maximum extent possible, however also zealously represent your interests in contested litigation if desired or necessary. Give us a call for a complimentary case assessment at 719-344-5523, or fill out our confidential online intake form.