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Dealing with a Court-Appointed Mediator in Colorado

Thursday, 20 August 2009

In most of Colorado’s judicial districts, it is required that the parties in a divorce action both attend mediation prior to being scheduled for a trial. First, you will receive an Order for Mediation from the family court in your jurisdiction.  You will usually have about 7-10 days to get in touch with a Court-Appointed Mediator, whose contact information will be included in the court order.

If both parties agree, you may select a private mediator, but if you cannot agree on the same mediator, Colorado’s Office of Dispute Resolution can help.  Once you select a mediator, whether court-appointed or private, you will be scheduled for a two-hour mediation session.  You may receive some additional documents from the mediator to be reviewed before your session, as well as a list of questions pertaining to your dispute.

Here is what you can expect when working with a mediator.

• When the mediation session starts, the mediator will explain that he/she is not your lawyer, and is not there to give you legal advice. 
• They will also explain that anything said during a mediation session is confidential, with the exception of any evidence of child abuse or violent threats to oneself or others.
• In addition, a mediator cannot be called as a witness in later hearings, nor can they be subpoenaed.

But perhaps the most important role of a mediator is to encourage a spirit of cooperation and civility between the two of your during the session, even if your entangled in a bitter dispute. 

Check your anger at the door

Once the preliminaries have been covered, the mediator will start by asking each side to explain the disputed issues, so it may be helpful to come prepared with a list, or at least some notations about your case.  Consider what you need and why, and be prepared to respond to any possible solutions presented by the mediator. 

While it is tempting to want to “win” the mediation, as well as the sympathies of the mediator, try not to get drawn in to the dynamics of the old relationship.  Stay focused, professional and productive, even if it appears that things aren’t going your way. 

And finally, don’t be afraid to offer creative solutions to satisfy your spouse’s needs.  Encourage brainstorming possible solutions, and don’t be afraid to take notes.  No matter what is presented during mediation, you are under no obligation to agree to it.  If a court proceeding is necessary, that option is still on the table. 

 

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MPatMarrisonFor over a quarter century, we have helped people during what is often the darkest time in their lives. Divorce is not easy even under the best of circumstances. For most people, family is central. Having something go wrong in the family can have a ripple effect that extends beyond the home and into other areas.

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