It is easy to view mediation as nothing more than a step in the process of litigating a family law case. And this is largely a “correct” way to view it, since mediation is a requirement in virtually all family law cases in Colorado prior to going to a contested hearing. But I like to think of litigation and mediation as two mutually exclusive ways to resolve a case. Mediation is the easier, more satisfying, and far less stressful way to get through most cases.
Litigation is defined as “the act of resolving a legal dispute through the court process.” By filing a divorce case, the parties have started the litigation process. Unfortunately, parties often feel that since a family law case is governed by the court system that it inherently pits the parties against one another, and the win-at-any-cost mindset and “scorched earth” tactics take over. I don’t think this mindset should ever apply to a family law case. But it does all too often.
Parties let their emotions take over, and divorce or family law cases become a nonstop series of tit-for-tat battles that don’t stop until either one party comes to his or her senses, or some outside momentum-killer causes one party to stop fighting (one example of this would be that one party runs out of money to finance for his or her attorney). Emotionally charged family law cases are impossible to settle until the fighting stops.
Parties benefit when a mediator can help both sides come to their senses and help them devise a win-win strategy for resolving their case. Parties in a divorce are always dealing with a high level of emotional weight. As a mediator, I can help the parties look beyond this emotion and be able to get their family law case behind them. Contact me at the Attorneys of Highlands Ranch if you want me to help resolve your case.