Colorado Divorce Mediation Attorneys
Planning for divorce is not something most people consider. Instead, we often imagine that it must be messy, unpleasant, and contentious. However, there are ways to dissolve a marriage that do not have to result in hurt feelings or a years-long court battle. One of those is by working with our Denver divorce mediation lawyers.
At Griffiths Law PC, our divorce attorneys in Colorado specialize in managing all aspects and methods for painlessly completing what is often a grueling process. Divorce mediation is the process of getting a third party to mediate the discussions, allowing you to forego the pressures of appearing in court. To learn more, contact our office to schedule a consultation today.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is often used when two parties have a disagreement in business to ensure each side’s concerns and needs are given appropriate consideration. The same is true for divorce mediation. The two spouses meet with a neutral third party who will listen to both sides and work to reach a satisfactory compromise. Each partner may have a divorce lawyer with them for assistance and guidance.
Divorce mediation is ideal for marriages where the parties are divorcing for causes besides adultery or other reasons where they do not trust one another. The main principles for successful mediation are that each side is there voluntarily, is committed to transparency, and exhibits mutual respect. They recognize that the goal is a peaceful and less damaging resolution.
Because you will only meet with a divorce mediator on the day of the proceedings, it is vital that you have spent time working closely with a skilled divorce lawyer. They will fully understand the process and explain it to you. They will also have already worked hard to develop the strongest and most accurate list of your needs and desires for the outcome.
Divorce Mediation Is Meant to Reduce the Stress of Divorce
At its core, mediation is designed to be non-confrontational and a forward-thinking way of resolving the many problems that divorcing couples face. Regardless of how friendly a split might be, the spouses must still contend with questions of property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody concerns. These can be taxing to the most agreeable couples.
Mediation keeps partners focused on the solutions to these questions instead of remaining in the hurt feelings and problems of the past. The mediator will listen to both sides and work with both spouses to craft an agreement, keeping emotions out of the discussion and striving to create the fairest outcome possible.
Finally, because mediation generally occurs in one room in the course of one day, it can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with divorce. Each spouse will meet with their lawyer as much as is needed to create their statements, and once everything is decided, the final agreement and divorce papers will be filed in court on their behalf. Spouses need never see the inside of the courthouse, and their divorce decisions will not be a matter of public record, as they would during a trial.
What Is a Divorce Mediator and What Do They Do?
The mediator for your divorce is not a judge, and they do not make any legal decisions for you. Nonetheless, a divorce mediation lawyer may be a retired judge or practicing attorney. They are specially trained and can bring a substantial amount of insight and experience to the negotiating table. Their background means they are able to separate the emotional aspect from the best interests of those involved.
When you work with a knowledgeable divorce mediation attorney in Denver, you can enter into mediation knowing that your requests will reflect your wishes and be in accordance with Colorado family law statutes. Ensuring your agreement will be beneficial and stand up in court is critical to reaching a consensus that will resist challenges down the road from your ex.
Our divorce mediation lawyers will tailor the agreement to reflect the family’s unique needs and situation. Ideally, you and your spouse will come to a full compromise on the day of the mediation, but you may still need to finalize some details afterward. Even if this is the case, using a mediator can make the whole process much faster and less expensive than a full divorce trial.
Why Choose Griffiths Law as Your Denver Divorce Mediation Attorney?
Rated as the Best Family Law Firm in 2023 by Colorado Biz magazine, Griffiths Law is proud to be an award-winning woman-owned company that emphasizes quality, compassion, and experience. We have served clients in the Denver area and across Colorado for over twenty years, guiding families through important decisions such as divorce, child custody, and other family law matters.
We have managed thousands of cases of divorce and educated our clients so they make the best choices about alimony, child support, and property division. Our attorneys stay up-to-date on advances, legislation, and court rulings affecting family law, so you never have to worry about facing unexpected challenges.
Our team is experienced in all aspects of divorce mediation services. We offer neutral mediation to all parties, whether they have outside counsel or not. We also have many years of background working as trial attorneys and negotiators to help you reach the best outcome for your unique circumstances. We focus on ensuring children are protected, both during initial divorce cases and in any subsequent child custody or support modifications.
Is Mediation a Good Idea in Divorce?
Divorce sometimes brings out the worst feelings, such as anger, bitterness, despair, and a need for revenge. While these may be understandable in many circumstances, they rarely serve the best interests of all parties, especially when children are involved. Finding a way to lower the emotional temperature of a divorce so that rational decisions can be made is beneficial for all.
Mediation can be very effective at keeping the peace, as well as ensuring decisions are logical and considerate. Doing so can often speed up the process, meaning spouses and families spend less time focusing on the stress of divorce and more time moving forward with their lives.
Benefits of Using Mediation for Your Divorce
Overall, mediation can benefit all parties involved, even those who are not in the room when the process takes place. Divorce is often stressful for friends and extended family members of the individual spouses, and children may suffer the worst of it. Watching their parents fight can be emotionally traumatic, on top of potentially moving, changing schools, and seeing one parent less frequently.
Other benefits of divorce mediation include:
- Less emotional impact
- Lower financial stress from reduced legal fees and court costs
- Often a faster solution than a divorce trial
- Allows spouses to maintain control over decisions instead of relying on a judge who does not know the circumstances
- Emphasizes co-parenting skills so the child custody and support discussions are child-focused
- Prepares parents to transition to working together post-divorce for the children’s best interests
- Encourages a respectful and cooperative process that opens the door for creative resolutions
- Protects your family’s privacy and keeps the dispute from becoming public record
- Usually results in agreements that are fairer to both parties than are reached in a trial
Mediation Has Substantial Benefits for Children
Because of the collaborative nature of mediation, parents are more likely to speak respectfully of each other at home and during the negotiation process. No one is blamed, and discussions tend to be more civil and dignified. Refraining from denigrating the other parent can substantially reduce the stress and worry that children experience during divorce.
Children recognize that they are not to blame, nor do they have to make the choices. On the other hand, older children often benefit further from being allowed to express their wishes for the mediation process. This gives them a sense of control when it might feel their world has turned upside down.
Children want assurance about questions such as where they will go to school, where they will live, and whether will they see the non-custodial parent enough. When they feel these are being addressed, they can often face the challenge of divorce with a better outlook as their situation changes. They will take their cue from parents who can work together with respect and empathy throughout the mediation process.
Mediation, Child Custody, and Child Support
In many marriages, spouses may generally agree about how to raise their children. During a divorce, this may change, especially if one parent moves far from the family home. When the parents have different ideas about education, religion, or other crucial decisions, mediation in a structured and impartial environment can help them arrive at creative solutions.
State law often mandates minimum child support payments and visitation schedules, but mediation allows parents to devise custody arrangements that work best for their lives and the children’s needs. Consider the following scenarios:
- One of the children plays on a travel sports team, with one parent serving as a coach. The playing season lasts through the summer months and visits locations around the state. A solution may be for that parent to have expanded visitation rights during the summer.
- A child is a musical prodigy and requires extensive mentoring to develop their talent. While standard child support payments in Colorado are 20% of the non-custodial parent’s income, that parent may agree to pay more to ensure the child can achieve their dreams.
- A child is disabled and requires regular medical care or therapy throughout the week. The parents may agree that they will take turns transporting the child so that one of them is not left managing the trips on their own.
Customized agreements like this would not typically be reached in a courtroom where a judge does not fully understand your family’s needs. Divorce mediation allows your attorney to help you present a balanced discussion of what will work best for everyone.
Potential Downsides of Going Through Divorce Mediation
As a less adversarial method of ending a marriage, divorce mediation depends on both parties being honest and committed to transparency. It is difficult for some people to put everything out in the open and set their individual concerns aside for the good of their children and the relationship with their spouse. While many couples are able to end things amicably, this is not always the case.
Situations where divorce mediation might not work or may lead to a longer conflict are when one of both spouses has a history of dishonesty, violence, or substance abuse. Domestic violence can mean one spouse is reluctant to ask for what they need from the divorce out of fear of retaliation. Likewise, those who abuse alcohol or drugs may stubbornly insist on a disproportionate distribution of marital assets to support their habit.
If your partner has had issues with gambling, questionable financial dealings, or adultery, divorce mediation might not be the right choice for you. To protect yourself, your future, and your best interests, you will likely get better results from a traditional divorce trial approach.
The Divorce Mediation Process
Much of the divorce mediation process takes place prior to when you meet the mediator. You will work with your divorce lawyers to discuss your needs and concerns. They will help you gather any documentation or materials needed to present your side. They can also ensure you are mentally and emotionally prepared to reach the best solution.
The process generally follows this format:
- Identify topics: These are usually matters that require resolution, such as child support, alimony, property distribution, and child custody. Other topics can be included according to the couple’s situation.
- Prioritize discussions: The divorce mediation lawyer will help the spouses decide the order in which to handle the topics so they can be dealt with one at a time.
- Discuss solutions: The mediator will present potential methods for resolving the topics and help each party express their thoughts about them.
- Reach compromise: Along with guidance from their attorneys, both parties will come to a mutual understanding about the concerns and each agenda item.
- Prepare a draft: The mediator will prepare a draft of the agreement for each party to review and edit.
- Prepare the final agreement: After negotiating any edits, revisions, and updates, the mediator will draft the agreement for both parties to sign.
- File the agreement: With permission from each spouse, their attorneys will file the agreement and request for a final decree of divorce in the appropriate jurisdiction on behalf of the couple.
- Receive decree and agreement: Each spouse will receive a copy of the divorce decree and final agreement after they are finalized through the courts.
The goal is not to win the mediation. The “winners” are everyone involved who will benefit from a compromise reached in a healthy and respectful way. The mediator will aid both parties in confidently and rationally communicating their requests and work to reach a satisfactory agreement.
Divorce Mediation Lawyers Require Specialized Training
The Mediation Association of Colorado (the MAC) works closely with the Colorado Bar Association to ensure that divorce mediation lawyers are highly trained before they offer their services to clients. Mediators must complete at least 40 hours of education and participate in no fewer than six hours of roleplaying to develop their skills in challenging scenarios.
Topics included in training are:
- Prevalent Conflict Theory and Dispute Resolution Processes
- Ethics and Values
- Professional Skills
- Relationship Building and Rapport
- Information Gathering
- Interaction and Conflict Management
Lawyers can complete the training in person or through online courses from various universities around the state. They can also participate in volunteer opportunities to gain additional experience to prepare them for offering divorce mediation services at a professional level. In addition, Griffiths Law provides mentoring support for our attorneys who choose to add mediation to their skillset.
Is Divorce Mediation a Faster Way to Get Divorced in Denver, CO?
Most divorcing couples wish to get things completed and finalized as quickly as possible. They are eager to put the situation behind them and move on to the next chapter of their lives. However, when emotions rule their discussions, or they try to solve things themselves, they can face many roadblocks and delays.
Mediation can potentially be a faster and less costly method of dissolving a marriage as long as both participants are committed to reaching an equitable and fair agreement. Recall that mediation relies on transparency, honesty, and mutual respect among all parties. If this happens, it is likely that a mediated divorce will be completed within months rather than dragging on for years.
In Colorado, the minimum length of time that must pass between filing a petition for divorce and receiving a final decree is 91 days. With divorce mediation working for you as intended, you and your spouse can reasonably expect to be divorced with a satisfactory compromise soon after that timeframe. As with everything, the speed for your legal action will depend on your unique circumstances and will require evaluation by your attorney.
Speak With the Denver Divorce Mediation Lawyers at Griffiths Law PC Today
Facing divorce is already upsetting enough. Fighting through an ugly divorce trial can only make things worse, especially if you and your spouse are able to speak calmly about what to do. You can make the most of that advantage by working with the skilled Denver divorce mediation lawyers at Griffiths Law PC.
Our team offers experience, compassion, and integrity to help you hammer out the best solution for your family’s needs. We address not only what works for the short term but will benefit your needs for years to come. We help parents put their children’s needs first and work to build the right agreement for you. You can begin understanding your choices with our Ultimate Guide to Divorce in Colorado.
When you are ready to get started with divorce mediation, contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can serve you in any aspect of family law.
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