When a family law dispute arises, many people may automatically think that they have to go court to resolve it. However, there is an out of court option called mediation that can help the parties settle their concerns.
Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party, called a mediator, facilitates communication between the parties. The mediator does not create a settlement agreement for the parties, but can help each side understand the other’s needs and interests.
The discussions are usually confidential and mediation may be both faster and less expensive than a traditional court process.
One of the primary benefits of mediation is that the parties are generally more invested in the outcome when they have a role in managing it. The parties involved in the dispute are often best able to resolve it.
In Colorado, parties must prepare a pre-conference statement, also called a confidential settlement statement, 10 days before the scheduled mediation.
This statement should include a list of issues the parties would like to resolve, identify each party’s interests and their understanding of the other party’s interests, and should be accompanied by copies of court orders, financial statements and other information related to the dispute.
When the parties come to an agreement, whether that is full or partial, the agreement will be put in writing, approved by the parties and their attorneys. If it is approved by the court, it will become an enforceable court order as well.
If the parties cannot come to an agreement in mediation, they still have the option to pursue the court process to resolve their concerns. An experienced attorney can help parties with mediation and related family law matters.