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.