The family law Alternate Dispute Resolution movement has taken a firm hold in Colorado courts. It is required in almost all jurisdictions and even if there is an agreement between the parties to resolve the disputes in their divorce, some counties still make the parties go to mediation. Mediation is usually dreaded by clients and not taken seriously. Most parties do not want to be forced in a room with their spouse to try to resolve their personal disputes and they don’t see the value in mediation. However, mediation is an important step in the resolution of the case and it can be a time and cost saving alternative to court. Here are some ways you can work with your attorney to feel prepared to go to mediation and get the results you want.
1) A party should always take some time to sit down with their attorney and communicate their goals for mediation. There should be a solid plan in place and the attorney and party should decide who should do the talking and how much talking each respective participant should do. This is important to figure out beforehand so there is no confusion during mediation.
2) The party should prepare to listen first and then talk. This may sound simple, but most of the time the participating parties just try to argue during mediation. The parties really should listen so there is no miscommunication and each party can hear the other’s resolutions and goals clearly. Listening is key to an effective mediation. This can easily be accomplished if just the attorney speaks, making it easy for the party to listen.
3) When it is time to talk, don’t waste words. Each chance to speak is an opportunity to be effective and help you move closer to a resolution for both parties. Try not to backtrack and always move forward to your goals rather than fighting over issues in the past and you have already come to an agreement on.
4) Mediation is a chance to be creative and move away for the stuffy orders of the Court that don’t allow for creative solutions. Before going to mediation a party should try to brainstorm some ideas and creative solutions to the issues in dispute with their attorney. A party has more control over the outcome of the issues in dispute when in mediation and they should try to take advantage of this opportunity.