If you are preparing for divorce in Colorado, mediation can play an important role in the process. Colorado law requires divorcing couples to participate in mediation.
Mediation offers several advantages but may also have its downsides. Staying informed and knowing what to expect can help you use your sessions productively.
The mediator's role
A mediator is a neutral third party whose role consists of facilitating negotiations. Mediators may not give legal advice or advocate for either party. They also lack the power to issue orders and may not compel either of you to agree to anything.
Mediation can resolve a variety of issues
Mediation negotiations can cover any contested issues in your divorce, including custody, spousal support, property division and more. During mediation, you have more control over the outcome. The mediator may propose solutions and compromises.
One advantage of mediation is providing a neutral setting to help divorcing couples communicate constructively. The mediator's facilitation can help dial down negative emotions that often run high during this time. This way, the two of you can focus on finding a compromise that works for you and your children.
Mediation also usually ends up costing substantially less than full-scale litigation. This is typically true even if you need to hire experts for complex areas such as business valuation. Generally, it is also a good idea to have an attorney's help during mediation. Unlike a mediator, your attorney can give you legal advice and advise you as to the potential consequences of a particular course of action.
When mediation can do more harm than good
In some situations, mediation can not only turn out to be unproductive but can actually damage your prospects. If one spouse refuses to disclose relevant information or assets, the mediator cannot compel these disclosures; only a judge can do that. In other cases, when one spouse holds a disproportionate amount of financial or psychological leverage, negotiations may not proceed on an equal footing.