The mediation requirement in Colorado family law cases

123Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.), section 13-22-311, states that any court of record may refer any case for mediation services as long as such mediation services are available. This statute is most commonly invoked in family law cases throughout Colorado. Mediation is usually mandatory. Therefore, if a court in a family law case has ordered for you to participate in mediation, the Court could penalize you for not complying, with potentially serious penalties such as dismissing your case, vacating an upcoming hearing, or even finding you in contempt of court. The statute does allow a person to be excepted from the requirement if he or she feels they have been physically or psychologically abused by the other party in the case. In addition, the statute allows the parties a five day window to object to a mediation order based upon a “compelling reason,” such as cost. Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure 16.2, which applies solely to domestic relations cases, specifically states that C.R.S. section 13-22-311 can be invoked to order mediation in such cases. The District Courts in Colorado throughout the front range will consistently require the parties in any divorce, child custody, or family law case to participate in mediation prior to going to a contested hearing on a case.

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