An Empathetic and Knowledgeable Attorney to Prepare You for Mediation
There are several ways to resolve divorce disputes in Colorado outside of trial. One such way is mediation, which can be a smooth process for some couples and stressful for others. Attorney Jeremy Shufflebarger is passionate about working with families, and he will lend an empathetic legal hand as he helps you prepare for negotiation. What are your goals for mediation? What outcomes are you willing to accept? How responsive or communicative is your partner? These are some questions we can work through to prep for mediation and efficiently obtain a favorable outcome.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a dispute resolution process where a trained third-party mediator will facilitate discussion between the disputing parties to reach their own resolution. One way to imagine the role of the mediator is as a sounding board to explore and talk through different strategies and options.
In family legal cases, spouses can expect to discuss the following disputes in mediation:
- child custody and visitation arrangements;
- property division;
- alimony payments;
- other marital matters.
Cooperative couples may find mediation a favorable option, as the process allows spouses to have full control over the outcome of their separation. Adversarial spouses, however, may find it more difficult to compromise for an agreement.
Note that under Colorado law, the court may refer any family case for mediation services or other dispute resolution programs, unless one of the parties claims that they have experienced physical or psychological abuse by the other party and states that they are unwilling to enter mediation or dispute resolution programs. The court may also exempt from referral any case in which a party files with the court, within 5 days of a referral order, a motion objecting to mediation and demonstrating compelling reasons mediation should not be ordered. Such reasons may be that the costs of mediation would be higher than the requested relief or that previous attempts to resolve issues were not successful.
After mediation, which may include several sessions, the mediator should compose a written statement certifying that parties have met with the mediator. They should also write up the settlement agreement to submit for court approval. If the parties address all their disputes, they do not need to proceed to court if their agreement is approved. If the parties only reach an agreement on some or none of the disputes, the remaining issues must be settled in trial. Attorney Shufflebarger is well-versed in mediation law and a powerful trial attorney, so if your case does proceed to trial you can trust that he has the litigation skills to fight for your interests in court.
Preparing for Mediation with an Attorney
The more prepared you are for mediation, the fewer sessions you may be required to attend and the more favorable your agreement may be to you. An experienced mediation attorney can help you prepare for mediation, which might include:
- reviewing the benefits and risks of pursuing mediation;
- identifying all the legal and non-legal issues that must be resolved;
- gathering any key documents or data to bring to mediation and distribute to the parties (e.g., financial information);
- explaining mediation process step-by-step;
- providing clients with effective communication tools;
- looking for areas of common ground or agreement;
- determining a range of acceptable outcomes.
Tensions may naturally be high in a divorce. It is important to remember that you have the right to tell your side of the story, though you should also avoid attacking or alienating the other spouse, especially if you want them to respect your goals and wishes. As long as you are willing to listen to the other party just as much as you are willing to advocate for your ideas, mediation will move along smoothly.
Let a Lawyer Help Clarify the Process
If you are proceeding to mediation to resolve your divorce dispute, do not hesitate to reach out to Shufflebarger Law Office, P.C. for legal advice. We can give you a useful primer on the mediation process and help you identify several outcomes to negotiate for. We can also work with you to curate a list of all the legal concerns you should settle in mediation to avoid or simplify litigation that may follow.