What is divorce mediation and how can it help?

Posted by Brian S. Beck, M.A. on March 18, 2012  /   Posted in Family Options

Negotiating divorce is one of the most common uses for mediation and many people have common questions about the process. Here is a quick Q&A for you.

1. What is mediation?

Mediation is a process that works outside of or along with the court system. The purpose of mediation is for a neutral person to help couples negotiate the details of their separation. The mediator isn’t a decision maker but is responsible for keeping the conversation focused and productive.

A mediator can help you negotiate anything you need but the most common aspects include working out the separation agreement and the parenting plan. In Colorado, these two documents are the most common divorce forms (assuming you have children). Depending on your situation, you may need other documents. You can find Colorado court forms here. Mediation is flexible and allows you to draft agreements on as many points as possible and leave the rest for the judge to decide.

2. Why did the judge order mediation?

In Colorado, mediation is part of a standard case management order, which encourages people to work out as much on their own as possible. Judges are required to make decisions based on the information you give them and the legal precedent. If you don’t have an attorney – and even if you do, you can be surprised by the judge’s decision. Believe it or not, the judge is a person, too, and he or she generally doesn’t want to decide who gets the television or car, when you get to see your children, or which parent is best to make the day-to-day decisions about your children. Mediation is your last opportunity to work out something that you’re both happy with before the judge makes a decision for you.

3. What does the mediator decide?

The mediator does not decide anything. The mediator’s job is to help you think through the pros and cons of all options and even think outside of the box.  The purpose is to help you figure out what works best for you in your situation.

4. Is mediation enforceable?

No, but your agreement can be filed with the court, and once a judge approves it, it can be enforced.

5. Can mediation be used in every situation?

Mediation can be used in a lot of situations but isn’t always appropriate. Contact us to see if mediation is appropriate in your case.


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We have successfully helped businesses, families and communities find better options for resolving disputes in each of our four main services areas: business, community, family and court.

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