What is mediation?
Mediation is where a neutral third party attempts to work with both parties to a case in order to help them come to an agreement on issues so that they can avoid going to court.
Is mediation binding?
No, mediation is a non-binding process. However, the goal of any mediation is to reach a written agreement between both parties that can be submitted to the judge to approve and enter as a binding order of the court. The mediation is non-binding in the sense that neither party has to agree to anything, and the mediator cannot force either party to an agreement. Heidi will work with both sides to create an agreement that they can both live with.
How does mediation work?
Heidi’s process is to first obtain all necessary paperwork from the parties that will provide her with a adequate background to insure that the mediation time is spent actually communicating and not just learning about the basic facts of the case. This is done to ultimately save the parties time and money. Heidi will meet with both parties individually, privately and confidentially at the mediation session, and she will be the only person communicating between both sides. Heidi will work to reach an agreement between the parties in any way that is possible. Once an agreement is reached, Heidi will help to create a written memorandum of understanding or agreement that can be adopted by the court.
Do we need to file for divorce before coming to mediation?
No. You do not need to file for divorce before the mediation, but you may choose to do so. The filing documents are available at the Colorado Judicial Branch website.
Can I get legal advice from my mediator?
No. Even though Heidi is a licensed, experienced attorney in Colorado, the advantage of mediation is that instead of having the role of advocate or counselor for a single party, a mediator helps to envision solutions for both parties. An attorney-client relationship is not formed between any party and the mediator. But the mediator will still uphold her duty of confidentiality to the parties.
Can mediation assist divorced parents in changing the current court orders in a case?
Yes. Any post-decree dispute can be mediated, whether it is a potential modification of the parenting schedule, parental responsibilities, or child support, or any other post-decree issue.
Do I have to mediate my case?
Usually, in most Colorado counties including those in the Denver metro area, parties who have recently filed for divorce or filed a new child custody case are required to mediate their case unless they have agreed to all issues immediately. This requirement also usually applies to modifications after divorce cases have already closed.