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5 Steps to Preparing For Divorce Mediation

preparing for divorce mediationAt Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver, we understand that ending a marriage is a difficult yet common thing. In fact, there are over 800,000 divorces each year in the U.S.

While some divorces are long and drawn out in the courts, others can be settled amicably. One of the best ways to handle the dissolution of a marriage is in mediation. Preparing for divorce mediation can be easier when you follow these five steps.

1) Both Parties Should Agree on Mediation

First and foremost, it’s important that both parties agree to go forward with a mediation divorce. Mediation isn’t for everyone, so make sure that it’s right for you.

  • Is the divorce mutual?
  • Do you respect one another?
  • Can you both control your emotions?
  • Do you both want to preserve a relationship following the divorce?

These are just a few divorce mediation tips to consider.

2) What Are Your Goals

What do you hope to gain from mediation? What do you want to leave with and what are you willing to leave behind? Will one of you stay in the home or would you like to sell the house and go your separate ways? Do you have children? You need to think about how you would like custody arranged between the two of you.

There are a lot of things to consider and it’s important to know what your goals are when preparing for divorce mediation.

3) Be Informed

It’s important to be prepared and protect your assets. You need to create a list of your assets before you meet with divorce mediators. Make lists of physical property, personal property, bank accounts (including investments and retirement), everything. You need to account for everything that you own as well as everything that you owe. Don’t forget your W2s and any court documents.

4) Take Care of Yourself

Divorce is a stressful time and stress can affect your body. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself during the process, especially if you have children because they need you to be healthy.

Be sure that you are eating well and getting rest. It’s difficult to make life-altering decisions if you aren’t in a good place both mentally and emotionally. If you are suffering in these ways, you may consider therapy to help you through the process.

5) Remember Your Children

Divorce is a difficult thing for everyone involved. While children are resilient, you should still consider their feelings when you are deciding how to prepare for divorce. If possible, you need to have a united front when it comes to discussing your divorce with your children. When discussing your spouse, never disparage them in front of the children.

Ready to Schedule Divorce Mediation?

Getting a divorce can be a stressful situation, but preparing for divorce mediation with the right professional can make things easier.

If you are ready to take the next step and set up a divorce mediation, contact us today and let us help you resolve your concerns. We can help ensure that you successfully mediate your divorce and don’t have to endure a stressful, drawn-out court battle.


7 Rules for a Successful Divorce Mediation

7 Rules for a Successful Divorce Mediation in DenverCompared to litigation, mediation is often a much more amicable and productive approach to divorce. However, there are 7 rules for a successful divorce mediation that you should understand and be willing to honor before getting started.

Here at Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver, I go over these guidelines with clients to ensure that everyone is on the same page before getting started. My goal is to help both sides reach equitable outcomes that allow a smoother transition as they move on in their separate lives.

The 7 Rules for a Successful Divorce Mediation

  1. Emotions: It’s only natural for both parties to feel a gamut of emotions, from sadness to anger and resentment. Because emotions can get in the way of a resolution through mediation, you may want to find healthier ways to cope such as seeing a therapist or counselor. Remember that this process isn’t about winning, losing or “punishing” your spouse, but about compromising. 
  1. Participation: For a successful divorce mediation outcome, both parties must participate in the conversation. If you’re not comfortable speaking about what you want and need, or there are issues with intimidation in the relationship, mediation may not be the right route. I will do my best to facilitate an open dialogue, but ultimately, you need to fully contribute to each session. 
  1. Respect: This is one of the pillars of divorce mediation. Even if a marriage came to a contentious end, mediation requires both parties to respect each other’s opinions, needs and wants. You’ll need to actively listen and respond instead of react during discussions. Once someone feels like they’re being undermined, they’re often much less willing to compromise on decisions. 
  1. Documents: As in any legal proceeding, you must bring proper documentation in order for any decisions to be made on the division of assets and debts, as well as what expenses may need to be covered by spousal maintenance and/or child support. Seeing numbers in black and white is easier to negotiate versus arbitrary figures that don’t reflect what’s true and what’s real. 
  1. Perspective: During mediation, both sides will have opportunities to make requests and provide suggestions. Some you’ll agree with and others may seem to come out of left field. At that point, take a moment to understand where the other party is coming from. You likely know them well, so put yourself in their shoes and try to (objectively) approach matters from their perspective. 
  1. Brevity: Unlike lawyers in a courtroom, a mediation session is not a forum to pontificate in order to “win” the case. Divorce mediation is a win-win format. Each session is focused, and all issues are settled as quickly as possible. The aim is to come to an agreement that will allow you to part ways without ongoing drama. If you want a fresh start, mediation is your opportunity. 
  1. Boundaries: When you know someone as well as a spouse, it’s so easy to cross boundaries with hurtful remarks. Again, see Rule #1. If necessary, you may need to limit communication outside of mediation. Instead of calling, send an email where you can be more thoughtful. If you prefer separate rooms during a mediation session, those arrangements can be made as well.

Now that you know what goes into a successful divorce mediation, contact me at Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver to discuss how I can help you find a resolution and move on with your life.


Using Divorce Mediation for Child Custody

Using Divorce Mediation for Child CustodyUsing divorce mediation for child custody has proven to be a successful solution for hundreds of Denver couples helped by Mediate Don’t Litigate. When a partnership breaks down, the couple’s children can get caught in the middle. To minimize distress for the parents and children, mediation can use conflict-free resolution tools to help create a workable plan for the future. Consider the following advantages of mediation if you find yourself in this challenging situation.

Less Stressful for Parents

When custody cases go to court, couples are pitted against each other and one clear winner is decided by a judge who doesn’t know anything about your family dynamic except for what’s presented in court. With mediation, there are no winners or losers. The aim is for both sides to be satisfied. When parents work together to create a mutually beneficial childcare plan, their negative emotions and stress caused by the break-up can often be eased.

Children Don’t Get Forced to Choose a Side

One prevalent and unfortunate side effect of divorce is that children feel like they have to pick a side or choose to support one parent over the other. Parents fighting at home and in the courtroom can place a huge emotional burden on the child. Divorce mediation for child custody allows the parents to make the welfare of the child a top priority. Creating an agreed upon practical plan for parental access, education, vacations and childcare will support a strong relationship with both parents.

The Affordable Option

If each partner hires a lawyer to represent them, the overall cost of the time spent in court can reach thousands of dollars. For couples who wish to save a considerable amount of money and use their energy on working for a better future, mediation is the obvious choice. A neutral, third-party mediator is a valuable resource to have during the process of assigning custody and responsibilities of a child.

Develops Lasting Positive Relationship

Mediation focuses entirely on the best future for both partners and the child or children involved. Although the couple may have experienced difficulties in their past relationship, if they are willing to co-operate for the sake of their children, they can have a positive relationship in the future. A mediator can share their tools and techniques for communication and conflict resolution, empowering both parties to cultivate a stable working relationship for the years to come.

Before getting involved in a lengthy legal battle, take a moment to consider using divorce mediation for child custody. Often the “winner” of a court case for custody later realizes that their victory may be at the expense of the children’s relationship with a parent. A long-lasting positive outcome for all parties is achieved through careful mediation with an experienced professional.

Here at Mediate Don’t Litigate, I have over two decades of experience in helping families resolve their custody issues without entering the courtroom. To learn more about divorce mediation for child custody and to schedule a session, please call today or get in touch via our online contact form.


Why Divorce Mediation Might Not Be Right for You

Mediate Dont Litigate Divorce Mediation DenverToday, Mediate Don’t Litigate provides the flipside to last month’s blog article with a discussion of why divorce mediation might not be right for you. We understand that the divorce process can be a stressful experience for both parties. For some couples, mediation can be the most cost-effective and diplomatic solution. We have already talked about some of the factors required to be considered good candidates for mediation, here is the second half of the list, signs this might not be the best path for your divorce. 

There is No Desire to Reconcile

If one spouse still has hopes to reconcile and rebuild the relationship or harbors too many emotions to move forward with a divorce, they may not be ready to participate in productive mediation. Mediation is only useful when both parties have truly accepted the reality of separation and are content to move forward with working on a settlement.

One Spouse Blames the Other

When one spouse blames the other for the destruction of the relationship, divorce mediation might not be right for you. If one spouse feels they are owed compensation in return for some wrongdoing by the other spouse, then litigation may be in your future. If pushed to participate in mediation they will likely be reluctant to compromise and undermine the process in order to get more out of the settlement.

There Have Been Significant Lies

Marriages that involve one spouse lying to the other about serious issues such as affairs, addictions or their shared finances are often unsuitable for divorce mediation. When one spouse cannot trust the other, it can be challenging to come to a resolution that is satisfactory for both parties.

You Are Intimidated by Your Spouse

Mediation requires each partner to voice their own opinions and negotiate their intended outcome. If one partner is easily intimidated by the other, mediation may be one-sided and ineffective. A neutral third party mediation professional will be present to assist both partners in forming an agreement, but each spouse must be confident in stating their mediation goals and discussing their needs and desires.

There are Issues with Alcohol or Drug Abuse

Alcohol or drug abuse can hinder mediation, due to the impact it has on the thought process and one’s behavior. The terms laid out in mediation should only be agreed upon by two clear-thinking parties who will follow through and carry out all decisions in the future. If addiction is an issue for one or both sides, divorce mediation might not be right for you.

For thousands of separating couples, mediation is the best way to peacefully tie up loose ends and allow both spouses to move on with their lives. However, if you feel that divorce mediation might not be right for you, please get in touch with Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver before making your final decision. We can talk through your concerns and help you make the right choice for your unique circumstance. Even in more contentious divorces, we can still help resolve common issues.

Contact us today for more information on our services or to schedule a mediation session.


Why Divorce Mediation Might Be Right for You

Divorce Mediation Might Be Right for You Mitigate Don't Litigate Denver, COToday, Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver discusses reasons why divorce mediation might be right for you. As an attorney who has litigated and settled numerous divorces, I’ve found that focusing my energy on providing neutral, third-party mediation services has enabled me to help my clients resolve matters such as asset division and custody of children without entering into expensive and time-consuming litigation.

While mediation isn’t for everyone, take a moment to read through the following reasons why divorce mediation might be right for you. If these points apply to your situation, please get in touch to learn more about how I can assist you with a better, smarter and more amicable divorce settlement option.

  1. Divorce is a Mutual Decision: When both parties are on the same page in regards to ending a marriage, mediation is the next logical step. If both spouses are ready to start a new chapter in their lives, the odds are that both will want to work together in mediation sessions to move forward without a stressful litigation process.
  1. You Want to Remain on Good Terms: If you intend to remain on good terms with your spouse after the divorce, this is a strong indicator that mediation will work. Some couples may continue to play a role in each other’s life after a divorce, either because of family obligations or due to their choosing. Collaborating on a mutually beneficial agreement is an excellent start to a positive post-divorce relationship.
  1. You Fully Understand your Financial Situation: Before entering mediation, it is a good idea to have clear knowledge of your joint financial situation. If you have had access to shared finances throughout the relationship and are aware of all the assets and debts that you hold jointly and separately, you’ll be in a good position to mediate. If your finances are more complicated, but both parties are committed to openly and honestly disclose all assets and debts, you may still be in a good position to mediate the details of your divorce.
  1. You Can Disagree without Resorting to Angry Outbursts: If you can confidently and respectfully discuss your position on potentially contentious matters without losing your temper, divorce mediation might be right for you. In some cases, where one spouse cannot discuss differences without a highly emotional reaction, mediation may only be possible if both parties are in separate rooms. In extreme cases, litigation may be your only choice.
  1. There Has Been No Physical Violence in the Relationship: Many mediators screen out couples who have a history of physical violence. To proceed with mediation, both parties need to be able to negotiate on an even playing field, without fear or intimidation.
  1. You Respect Each Other as Parents: If you feel that your spouse is a capable and responsible parent, then working out a custody agreement or shared childcare plan should be achievable outside through mediation. However, if both sides deeply disagree on fundamental issues involving the welfare of the children, the courts may ultimately have the final decision. You’ll both need to be committed to the process, so I encourage open minds.

At Mediate Don’t Litigate, I consider divorce mediation to be a positive and more affordable alternative to litigation. Hopefully, the information provided will help clarify if divorce mediation might be right for you. For more information on how I can help with divorce mediation, please feel free to get in touch.

Blogs and articles by Mediate Don’t Litigate are for educational purposes only and to give you a general understanding of the law, not to provide any legal advice or be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed, professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction. Use all blogs and articles at your own risk. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. These materials may be changed, improved, or updated without notice. Mediate Don’t Litigate is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this site or for damages arising from the use or performance of this site under any circumstances.


How to Get Ready for Divorce Mediation

If you’re divorcing and have decided to take control of your future, you may be wondering how to get ready for divorce mediation. Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver offers a few key pointers to help you prepare for the process. Just showing up is one thing, but coming to the table with the right information and a positive mindset will significantly improve the results of your mediation sessions.

Know Your Rights & Obligations

When it comes to how to get ready for divorce mediation, the best place to start is to know your rights and obligations. Read up on what laws apply to your divorce (especially if children are involved), as well as what’s required of you, for a better understanding of how it might affect your specific situation. Get familiar with the terminology, the latest news and the steps required by the courts here in Colorado.

You can also request a consultation with Mediate Don’t Litigate, and I’ll familiarize you with the general court process versus mediation. I’d also be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Keep Those Emotions in Check

Even though you may have very strong feelings about the other party, allowing those emotions to erupt in or during a mediation session will only set things back. To be productive during mediation, it is best to have your feelings under control and your mind focused on the matters at hand. Yes, it’s certainly easier said than done sometimes, but mentally preparing in advance will ensure a more successful mediation.

Bottom line, the desired outcome of any mediation is that both parties agree on terms without having the courts decide their futures. The atmosphere should be solutions-oriented, not emotionally volatile.

Bring Organized Documents

This is a big one when it comes to how to get ready for divorce mediation. Coming to the table with as much financial evidence as possible is crucial. Divorce mediation is about concrete solutions, creating an agreement that you will present for court approval. A full disclosure of your finances, down to the penny, is required to ensure nothing is overlooked.

  • Assets include: individual and joint bank accounts and balances, real estate, ownership or equity in businesses, vehicles, valuables, timeshares, retirement funds and balances, stocks, brokerage accounts, annuities, even pending lawsuits that are likely to produce an award.
  • Debts and balances include: bank loans, private or personal loans (to and from friends or family), car and student loans, mortgage payments, credit cards, tax debt and other collections.

Typically, along with official documentation, a spreadsheet is an easy way to keep numbers organized. This may be a joint effort or solely from your side. Your mediator may advise on a preferred method. 

Put Together Your Budget

Once finances are disclosed, mediation will then cover how both sides will proceed in living separately. It will be helpful for you to have a budget in mind. Coming to the table with what you can genuinely afford or what support you will need are a valuable piece of divorce mediation. It’s best to be honest and fair in your estimation as your financial picture will be available for comparison. Excessive asks or refusals will likely create unnecessary arguments. There are numerous family budget forms available online to help you break down expenses. Make sure you include medical visits, medications, co-pays, deductibles, kids’ activities, vehicle and other household expenses, and whatever else you can include.

Write Down Concerns

Beyond discussing your basic wants and needs regarding assets, debts, children and other matters, it’s also important to address your concerns, those “what ifs” that might be keeping you up at night. Write it all down to be reviewed during divorce mediation. This may include where each parent can travel or move with a child and what notification is needed, financial support as a stay at home spouse endeavors to re-enter the workplace. Every concern is valid and should be covered in your sessions.

One-on-One with Mediator

First and foremost, speaking with your mediator is a confidential process, so you can rest assured that the information exchanged will be kept private by your mediator. They will also understand that one or both parties may not be comfortable discussing every issue in the presence of the other. Mediation can still be successful if you and your spouse need to be in separate rooms. You can also have your attorney present if that makes you feel more comfortable. Mediation is not a one-size-fits-all process.

Choose Your Attorney Wisely

Seek out an attorney who is willing to help you find reasonable solutions instead of fighting exhaustively over every issue. The point of mediation is to avoid litigation and a court battle. Bringing that type of attorney to your sessions is counterproductive. Ultimately, mediation provides a huge emotional and financial benefit, so make sure your attorney is on the same page.

Hopefully, you now know how to get ready for divorce mediation after reading these tips from Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver. I’m here to help make the most of your situation with thoughtful, professional and caring mediation services. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.


Talking to Your Spouse About Divorce Mediation

Talking to Your Spouse About Divorce Mediation Mediate Don't Litigate DenverHere at Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver, we want to share some tips for talking to your spouse about divorce mediation. When couples decide to divorce, one spouse will often do a lot of research and stumble upon mediation as a way to save money and time. Sometimes, in trying to sell their spouse on the idea of using mediation, the opportunity is not always easily embraced by the other spouse.

Who has the Upper Hand?

Divorce is usually not a pleasant process. When a couple decides that they need to divorce, at least one party may rush to an attorney to protect assets and/or lay claim to any children involved. Out of duty to their client, the attorney may advise clients not to discuss anything with the other spouse and will begin developing a strategy to “win” in court. This may sound very appealing, but it can also be very costly.

If a spouse has already decided on retaining an attorney, persuading them to use a divorce mediator can be difficult. If they feel they are losing their advantage in the situation or that their spouse may have the upper hand, it may take time to convince them of the benefits.

Choose Your Timing

Introduce the idea of mediation at a time when conflict seems to be at a minimum. Avoid proposing it in the middle of an already heated debate. Ask at a time when things are calm. If you have children, do not ask in front of them. When talking to your spouse about divorce mediation, you want the conversation to be as calm, pleasant, and stress-free as possible.

Don’t be an Expert

Try not to sound like the expert in all things mediation. Use phrases such as, “according to the mediator website” or “this article on the web says” to help your spouse see that you are not the expert and do not necessarily have an upper hand. Share the mediation websites you looked at or any printed material you found with your spouse.

Present Mediation as a Reasonable Option

If you propose mediation as an option that would allow you and your spouse to save money and time, mediation may sound more appealing. It also ensures that neither party is stuck with an agreement that they don’t like but must live with because it was handed down by a court judge. Additionally, attorneys may be present during divorce mediation and are often a part of the process to ensure that clients understand any legal implications.

Don’t Expect Immediate Agreement

You are divorcing, so it is likely that your spouse will not be immediately enthusiastic about the idea of divorce mediation. It may sound great to you, but it may take a bit of patience to get them on board. Be understanding, patient, and flexible. Forcing an issue will likely not get a spouse to agree and may lead to even greater hostility.

Using these tips for talking to your spouse about divorce mediation can be a good way to get your spouse to agree to mediation. If you have questions about the process, contact us here at Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver for your initial consultation.

*Image Copyright: kurhan / 123RF Stock Photo


7 Big Benefits of Divorce Mediation

7 Big Benefits of Divorce Mediation Mediate Don't Litigate DenverHere at Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver, we want to share the 7 big benefits of divorce mediation. Many people don’t realize that mediation is an excellent litigation alternative. It can be a much less stressful and drawn out process than going to court.

Avoid Court

Mediation is a great way to avoid going to court, sometimes all together. Once an agreement is finalized, you or your attorney can simply file all of the prepared paperwork with the court. A judge then reviews and signs it. In some jurisdictions, a brief court appearance may still be required. This appearance would be to tell the court about the agreement or to confirm that you approve of the mediated decisions.

Reach Agreement Faster

Court divorce cases can take months, or they can last years depending on how complex or contentious the situation. Also, because courts nationwide have experienced budget cuts, personnel reductions and furlough days, the length of court cases is now even longer. Alternatively, mediation is completed on the participants’ timeline and so, it can be done much quicker, potentially in just days if both sides are willing to compromise.

Clients Determine Process

In mediation, clients determine their agreement’s terms and the mediator assists with the process. The agreement is not finalized until both clients agree with the terms. Because a judge is not involved in the terms, clients do not have to worry about being ordered to do something that makes no sense to either one of the parties.

Lower Cost

Litigation can be very expensive with a highly unpredictable final cost. One party may also be ordered to pay attorney fees for the other side. Divorce mediation costs, on the other hand, are often lower because the process focuses on a constructive solution. Neither party is working overtime or behind the scenes to “win” their case. The cost for mediation reflects the time spent actively pursuing solutions and resolving issues.

More Satisfied Clients

Also on our list of 7 big benefits of divorce mediation, are positive outcomes. Couples who participate in divorce mediation are generally much more satisfied with their results. In traditional litigation, even if one of the parties is satisfied with the final result, they are frequently unhappy about the amount of money spent on the process.


The privacy of mediation clients is protected. Clients can make determinations about what will appear in the public record. In public courtrooms, all allegations are publicly aired and all exchanges become a part of the public record. Mediation avoids the public airing of your private matters and personal information.

Relationships are Preserved

Divorce is never easy, and there may be feelings of anger or resentment that keep both sides from being able to communicate effectively. As a neutral third party, a mediator facilitates a productive conversation by keeping you and your spouse focused on the issues instead of continuing to argue or sling accusations. Ultimately, this allows both parties to divorce and even salvage their relationship. This is one of the greatest benefits of divorce mediation.

Now that you know about 7 big benefits of divorce mediation, you can understand why mediation may be an excellent alternative for your situation. These are just a few of the benefits of mediation – there are many more. If you are in need of a mediator for your divorce, please contact Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver for a consultation.

*Image Copyright: enterline / 123RF Stock Photo



Divorce Mediation vs. Court, Part 2

Divorce Mediation vs. Court, Part 2 Mediate Dont Litigate Divorce Mediation DenverToday, Mediate Don’t Litigate offers the second half of our guide, Divorce Mediation vs. Court, Part 2. While I might be a bit enthusiastic about mediation, I do understand that under certain circumstances, you may truly feel that litigation is the route you need to take for your divorce. Here, I present even more facts comparing both options so that you can make the best decision for your situation.

There are 10 key factors to consider. Today, Divorce Mediation vs. Court, Part 2 covers the final five. Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do you want to go to war with your spouse? Even if things start amicably, a divorce case can quickly devolve into a no holds barred fight to win your case at any cost. It can lead to anger, bitterness and resentment. Ultimately, after a long, drawn out and expensive battle, there are often no real winners. By going a different route, a mediator will act as a neutral third party who simply facilitates positive discussions and mutually beneficial outcomes. Divorce mediation does not pit each side against each other but helps them find balance and neutral ground.
  2. Do you want other divorce cases to affect your own? Laws and legal precedent (previous divorce outcomes) will play a big role in your divorce. After both sides present their case to the judge, he or she will make decisions based on these existing laws, statutes, and regulations. You may wind up with a “by the book” divorce that doesn’t work for either side. Mediation takes into account what’s important to both you and your spouse, then works toward a settlement that meets everyone’s needs as best as possible. This allows for creative solutions instead of relying on a one-size fits all approach. 
  1. Do you want a judge to decide the outcome? Going to court for your divorce means a complete stranger will divide your assets and debts, determine your future finances, as well as decide how you and your spouse will co-parent. Through divorce mediation, you stay in control of your own future and the future of your children. You will have the opportunity to discuss all matters and negotiate terms that work for both of you. Neither side “wins” while the other side “loses”.
  2. Do you want to settle private matters in a public setting? Here in Divorce Mediation vs. Court, Part 2, I feel the need to remind you that that courtrooms are public spaces – anyone can attend. Also, thanks to the internet, public court records are easily accessed. While adjustments can be made to protect children or perhaps sensitive business information, court truly leaves you vulnerable. Divorce mediation is private, and a mediator cannot disclose what you discuss and settlement offers cannot be used in litigation. The only exceptions are issues around violence and bodily harm.
  3. Do you want to be in the dark regarding the outcome? When you go to court for your divorce, you never really know what the judge is thinking until the end – when it’s too late. While your lawyer might assure you that things are going in your favor, there’s always room for doubt. By bringing your dispute to a divorce mediator, you’ll know what’s happening in real time. As you collaborate on and negotiate your settlement, it can be put into writing then and there.

At Mediate Don’t Litigate, I know there’s a lot to think about when deciding divorce mediation vs. court. I hope this guide provides you with the information you need to make the best choice for you. To learn more about mediation, please request a consultation so that we can discuss your needs and situation.


Divorce Mediation vs. Court, Part 1

Divorce Mediation vs. Court, Part 1 Mediate Dont Litigate Divorce Mediation DenverIn a divorce, there are two primary routes you can choose. Today, Mediate Don’t Litigate offers the first half of our guide, Divorce Mediation vs. Court. While I might be a bit enthusiastic about mediation, I do understand that under certain circumstances, you may truly feel that litigation is your only option. Here, I present the facts comparing both so that you can make the best decision for your situation.

When it comes to divorce mediation vs. court, there are 10 key factors to consider. Today, I’ll cover the first five. Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do you want to focus on the past or the future? To make a decision for you, a judge relies on past facts. Lawyers will gather evidence, such as a mound of documents and even witness statements, to convince the judge where to assign blame and responsibility in order to “win” the case for their client. In mediation, you leave the past behind and focus on the future. While the discussion can touch on what’s transpired between you and your spouse, a mediator will steer the conversation towards resolving disputes and reaching a mutually satisfying agreement.
  2. Do you have a highly flexible schedule and time to spare? If you go the court route, you’ll be forced to adhere to a judge’s schedule and docket. And courts are only open during standard hours, Monday thru Friday. That means you’ll be the one who needs to take time off work, hire babysitters, or rely on friends and family to shuttle the kids to soccer practice. Until everything is finalized, life will revolve around the court’s calendar. A mediator can be more accommodating, offering evening meetings and weekends if a situation requires it. This limits any interruption in your work schedule and parenting time.
  3. Do you want your voice to be heard? In a standard courtroom divorce, lawyers will do most of the talking for you. They may ask you questions, but rules do not allow you to speak freely and provide the judge with a full understanding of your position. It’s typically a strategic narrative carefully designed to win your case. With divorce mediation, both sides have the chance to speak and be heard in a non-adversarial way. This you a better understanding of each other’s viewpoint which typically leads to faster and more streamlined decision making.
  4. Do you potentially want to wait years to finalize your divorce? When it comes to divorce mediation vs. court, remember that litigation can be a slow process with rules that must be followed. Court dates are set months in advance and a trial can last weeks or years. You’ll have to wait for a judge’s ruling and possibly go through appeals. With a capable mediator, you can work through all disputes and issues in a fraction of the time. A mediator will guide you through all the issues and work through everything without the constraints of courtroom procedure.
  5. Do you have a bottomless bank account? While there are a number of attorneys who offer a sliding scale or more affordable rates, a courtroom divorce can still put a severe financial strain on both parties. As mentioned in #2 and #4, litigation takes time. There’s the discovery phase, research, motions, briefs and preparations for trial – the time and money spent on your divorce case will add up quickly. On the other hand, mediation offers fewer restraints and you can move at a whatever pace both parties are comfortable with.

At Mediate Don’t Litigate, I know there’s a lot to consider when deciding divorce mediation vs. court. I hope this guide provides you with the insight you need to make your choice. For further assistance, I encourage you to request a consultation so that we can discuss your needs and situation.