For many Coloradans, their appearance in court for a divorce is their first personal experience with the judicial system. For this reason, many people are ignorant of the essential features of a divorce proceeding. A single blog post cannot provide a complete survey of the mechanics of a divorce proceeding, but a single post can help individuals understand one or two critical aspects of a divorce. One of the most important features in a Colorado divorce proceeding is mediation, but this element is also one of the most misunderstood processes in a divorce case.
In its essence, mediation is a court-supervised effort to help the parties resolve their differences without a court trial. The process uses a neutral third party to meet with the divorcing couple, discuss their differences and suggest ways of compromising their existing disputes. Many divorce litigants view the mediator as some kind of lower level judge, but that view is wrong. Mediators cannot issue any orders or make any rulings on the disputed issues. Rather, the mediator can only suggest outcomes. No outcome has a binding effect unless it is agreed to by both parties.
While a judge may suggest a possible mediator, the parties are free to choose whomever they want to as the mediator. Most mediators in Colorado have received at least 40 hours of mediation training in subjects such as the importance of maintaining a neutral affect, listening to both sides of a dispute and presenting potential compromise solutions.
Mediation can be especially helpful in resolving differences over the allocation of parenting time, child support and spousal support. The mediator can ensure that the interests of the children are clearly understood by both parties and incorporated into resolving parenting time and support disputes.
Anyone who is facing the potential end of their marriage may wish to consult a capable divorce attorney for advice on the overall divorce process and mediation in particular.