What to Expect During a Colorado Mediation

Posted in Child Custody,Divorce on December 28, 2017

A Colorado mediation is a dispute resolution strategy that takes place in front of an impartial third-party judge or mediator. Mediation is a common strategy for families during divorce and child custody cases, with the purpose of resolving disputes before going to court. If both parties can come to an agreement during mediation, a trial is unnecessary. In mediation, you have the power and flexibility to come up with your solution without a judge’s interference. Knowing what to expect can give you an advantage during this process in Colorado.

Mediation Is a Discussion, Not a Debate

The goal of mediation is to resolve disputes by reaching mutual agreements or compromises. It is not a situation in which one party wins and the other loses. Each person must obtain the other person’s cooperation for a successful outcome. Mediations, therefore, should not turn into heated debates or arguments with the other party. Instead, keep it a conversation about the matter at hand with the mission of working together to solve the problem. Consider what you say during mediation carefully to keep the goal of a joint compromise in sight.

Mediation Takes Paperwork

Prior to mediation, both parties need to exchange case summaries with one another and the mediator. The documents should:

  • Go to the mediator seven to 14 days prior to mediation
  • Aim to educate the mediator on the situation
  • Strive to convince the other party to negotiate
  • Provide a factual summary of the situation
  • Include a summary of events, if necessary
  • Outline any legal issues and factual issues
  • Identify both parties’ differences and common ground
  • Have critical supporting documents attached

In the days leading up to mediation, the mediator will usually introduce him or herself to both parties in person or by phone. The mediator may ask questions about the paperwork at this point.

The Mediator Does Not Pick Sides

Talking in front of a mediator can feel daunting at first, as if you are trying to prove yourself and get the mediator on “your side.” This is not the point of mediation. A mediator does not pick sides or place blame on one party. The mediator’s job is to maintain a neutral role during the attempt to get the parties to manage a dispute. The mediator will establish rules for the meeting and help keep both parties in line during the discussion. He or she will also help both parties identify and work through issues in need of resolution.

The Mediator is Not a Judge

At the end of mediation, the mediator will not make a final judgment call on the dispute resolution. If both parties cannot come up with terms they both agree upon, the matter will move to trial. Otherwise, the parties will come to a mutual agreement and the mediator will draft the paperwork fulfilling their wishes. The mediator will not make decisions for you or make any orders. A mediator is more of a peacekeeper than a judge.

Mediation Takes Tact, Patience, and an Open Mind

If you walk into mediation thinking you are going to lay out your demands and stick to them until the other party gives in, you will likely find the proceedings surprising and disappointing. Mediation takes understanding the other person’s point of view, using tactful honesty and willingness to compromise when you can. Walk into the room with the right mindset for the best results.