Divorce is a complicated matter involving the dissolution of a legal contract – a marriage – that comes with a hefty emotional component, and in many cases, serious disputes arise. Even the most well-meaning couples pursuing the most amicable divorces can run into challenges.
However, there are alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options, such as mediation that couples can turn to during their divorce. Your divorce will be unique to your situation, and determining whether or not mediation is a good option for you will depend upon wide-ranging factors. Ultimately, a better understanding the pros and cons of divorce mediation will help you determine your best path forward. The experienced family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group in Colorado are here to help you make well-informed decisions that protect your parental and financial rights. Contact our legal team by texting us at (720) 730-4558 or by calling us at (720) 463-4333 today.
The vast majority of divorces in Colorado are settled out of court, and towards this end, couples use every dispute-resolution tool available to them, including divorce mediation. Mediation allows divorcing couples to avoid turning to the court to make decisions on their behalf. At mediation, couples can explore their options and hammer out their own mutually acceptable divorce terms with the help of a neutral third party who is a professional mediator. If you are able to find middle ground on one or more pending divorce terms at mediation – and you both sign off on them – the terms become legally binding. Because the stakes involved are so high, you are well-advised to consider having a dedicated family law attorney on your side throughout the divorce process, including mediation.
Divorce mediation is far more casual than going to court, and the mediator is there to help you find common ground – not to make decisions on your behalf. This allows many couples to adopt a more relaxed approach and to enter into negotiations in good faith – rather than from completely adversarial positions. The sense of ownership experienced in mediation can go a long way toward helping couples negotiate their own terms. In fact, many couples surprise themselves by coming to many agreements in the more-relaxed atmosphere created at mediation.
At court, the judge has vast discretion and can hand down whatever terms he or she sees fit. Every divorcing couple must settle all of the following terms that apply:
Because these matters are so consequential, many divorcing couples prefer not to hand the reins over to an unknown entity, which can make mediation a good option. If you are able to come to mutually acceptable terms in mediation, they become legally binding, but this is the only way that divorce mediation can do so.
Typically, divorce mediation is considerably less expensive than going to court. There is usually far less prep work that needs to be done by you or your family law attorney, which amounts to fewer billable hours, and there is generally less time from start to finish. Further, it is far easier to schedule a convenient time – that is sooner rather than later – for mediation than it is to make your way into the labyrinthian court docket. The cost of mediation itself boils down to you and your divorcing spouse simply splitting the mediator’s fees.
Certain divorces will eventually proceed to court, and the pros and cons of divorce mediation do not alter this fact. If you are fairly sure that meditation is not going to get you and your divorcing spouse over the sticking points you face (regardless of what they might be) and your knowledgeable family law attorney concurs, mediation can end up ultimately costing you more and prolonging the legal process. Some of the factors that tend to make going to court more likely include:
In the end, the mediator is completely neutral and will not factor in wrongdoing – nor will he or she likely have any specialized skill related to complex financials. In situations like these, bypassing divorce mediation can amount to doing yourself a favor.
Divorce has a way of putting both spouses on the defensive. After all, you are dissolving your marriage and heading into unknown territory, which makes divorce nothing if not stressful. While you and your divorcing spouse may not be getting along swimmingly, you may not be as far apart as you think regarding your divorce terms. In fact, you may be able to diminish the divide between you by negotiating between yourselves (with your experienced family law attorneys in your respective corners). Further, even if an unresolved – and seemingly unresolvable – term remains after careful and extensive negotiations between you and your soon-to-be ex, there is no guarantee that mediation is going to move the needle in the right direction. If there is a real sticking point in your divorce terms, mediation can act as an expensive steppingstone toward divorce court.
If you are considering heading to mediation as a means of avoiding court and cutting your divorce losses, it may or may not be a good idea for you and your situation. The experienced Colorado family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group, however, are well prepared to help you explore the pros and cons of divorce mediation and find the best path forward for you. Because your case is important, our dedicated legal team is here to help, so please do not hesitate to text us at (720) 730-4558 or call us at (720) 463-4333 for more information today.