You may have heard of divorce mediation, but are not sure how the process works. You also may be unsure if it is right your situation.
Although mediation is not for every divorcing couple, it is a good option for many, particularly if you want to keep the process from dragging on or getting too expensive. Here are some things you may want to know about divorce mediation.
How does divorce mediation work?
A former couple meets with a mediator over a series of several sessions. During the mediation sessions, they go over hard facts like all their finances and assets. The former partners also discuss more of the soft facts, like any concerns about children, prior history and any fears or concerns.
Once the facts are discussed, the mediator will suggest a range of possible solutions. Then it will be up to the you and your former spouse to decide how to move forward. The mediator does not make any decisions for you. Rather he or she helps facilitate the conversation between you.
Can mediation work for couples who are angry with each other?
You do not have to be on the best of terms to do mediation. It is incredibly common for divorcing couples to be unhappy with each other. If emotions flare, the mediator will redirect the conversation and get you back on track. The mediator keeps you from fighting the same fights and encourages you to make rational decisions together.
Does mediation work when you have children?
Mediation is often the best way to settle custody issues. It forces you and your soon-to-be ex to come together to decide what is best for your children. You can create a parenting plan together and decide how you will communicate going forward. It helps you establish your ongoing relationship as parents.
How do you decide how to pick a mediator?
A mediator does not have to be licensed to practice mediation, so it can be tough to decide who to pick for a mediator. However, there are certain signs that you are dealing with a professional mediator:
- Strong knowledge of Colorado's divorce laws
- Graduate degree in law or mental health
- Significant amount of training and experience in mediation
Mediation may not work for every divorcing couple. If your former partner is physically or emotionally abusive, mediation is not the right decision. Concerns about your spouse hiding assets may also mean mediation will not work for you.
However, if you and your partner want to avoid the expense and time of a court battle, mediation may be the right option. It forces you and your partner to work together to create a divorce agreement, and it can help you decide how to co-parent after the divorce is finalized.