Call Mediate Don't Litigate Today

Our Blog

/Our Blog/

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

2017-11-10T08:58:43+00:00

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.

Privacy

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

 

2017-11-10T08:54:13+00:00

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.

2017-11-09T13:48:20+00:00

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.

2017-11-09T13:42:11+00:00

Dividing Your Property During a Divorce

Dividing Your Property During a DivorceDividing your property during a divorce can be a difficult process. At Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver, I will work as a neutral party to help both sides come to a full agreement. The first step is gaining a better understanding of how the laws in Colorado affect how property is divided so that you can make the best possible decision for your specific situation.

Colorado Law on Property Division

When dividing your property during a divorce, Colorado is considered an equitable distribution state. This does not mean that all marital property is distributed equally, but instead, what the court considers to be fair. Now, what you think is fair might differ greatly from the court which makes it important to consider mediation as your best course of action.

If you do choose mediation services, the Colorado courts will accept a property division decided by both parties as long as it’s fair and reasonable. If parties are unable to reach a settlement, the court will make a decision for you. At Mediate Don’t Litigate, I’ll guide you through the process and help you create an agreement that’s acceptable for both parties as well as the court.

Separate Property or Marital Property

When dividing your property during a divorce, you will first need to determine if the property is marital property or separate. Property is considered separate if one spouse owned it prior to the marriage or acquired it via inheritance or gift during the marriage. Items purchased with or exchanged for separate property are also considered separate.

However, crossover can occur if the property is commingled into joint title/ownership or the value of separate property increases during the marriage. For example, you purchased a rental property prior to the marriage for $100k, and its value is currently at $350k. With records to support the claim of increased value, the difference can be considered marital property that will need to be fairly divided.

Property can easily become a grey area. Often, during a marriage, parties freely transfer the title of property from one to the other. There can also be commingling, which often happens with bank accounts, sometimes on purpose and sometimes because you simply weren’t paying close attention or anticipating dividing your property during a divorce.

Mediation helps both parties work through this grey area, find compromise, then create a fair and equitable division that meets everyone’s best interests.

Equitable Distribution Factors

In determining fair and equitable distribution, the following factors are taken into consideration by the court and should be contemplated during the mediation process:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker
  • The value of the property in the award given to each spouse
  • Decreases and increases in the overall value of separate property during the marriage
  • The financial circumstances of each spouse at the time of the award

It’s important to know that Colorado law, and therefore the court, supports dividing marital property without taking misconduct into consideration. Sometimes, however, if one party can prove the other party purposefully dissipated a substantial marital asset, their action may be taken into consideration when dividing the property.

How Your Property Can Be Divided

Assets can be divided by spouses, mediation, or the courts. If both parties cannot come to an agreement, your financial future will be left to a judge who knows nothing about your life or situation to determine what’s considered fair.

On your own or through mediation, dividing your property during a divorce may include giving one party certain assets and then equalizing the value with a monetary payment. Co-ownership is another option, but this may not work if both parties do not get along or simply want a clean and definitive separation of assets.

Another factor to consider is that marital debts are also split equitably and can be introduced during the property division conversation. One spouse may keep assets with greater value, but retain a particular marital debt to even things out between both parties.

As you can see, there’s a lot of nuance when dividing your property during a divorce. Even if a marriage ends amicably, navigating this process can be tough and require a lot of compromise. By coming to Mediate Don’t Litigate in Denver, I will be the neutral third party needed to help you find the right balance and keep the courts from deciding your future.

To learn more about mediation and schedule a consultation, please get in touch today.


Disclaimer

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.

By reading our blog and articles you also understand that there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and The Law Office of Lynne A. Weitzel, PC.

2017-11-10T08:40:14+00:00

Welcome to our new blog

This is the new blog for Mediate Don’t Litigate.  We’ll be sharing information about our mediation services and many topics related to family law.

2017-05-30T05:43:54+00:00