Mediation is one of the most common forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Colorado. Because divorce or custody cases can take a long time and cost a lot of money, mediation has evolved as a viable option for parties who want to avoid court and reach an agreement with the other party.
But what exactly is “mediation?”
In Colorado, mediation is a generally voluntary form of dispute resolution where each side agrees to have a neutral third person (called a mediator) resolve a given dispute. While virtually any dispute can be mediated in Colorado, it is most impactful when parties in a divorce case or custody matter resolve their issues through mediation.
Unlike traditional forms of dispute resolution, mediation is designed to encourage settlement through every step of the process. In fact, Colorado Rev. Stat. (C.R.S.) § 13-22-305 directs all office of dispute resolution programs to enact rules and procedures “designed to establish a simple nonadversarial format for the resolution of disputes by neutral mediators in an informal setting for the purpose of allowing each participant, on a voluntary basis, to define and articulate the participant’s particular problem for the possible resolution of such dispute.”
In most divorce and custody cases, the court requires the parties participate in mediation because the parties know far more about their lives than the Court could ever learn and are in the best position to make decisions about their finances and children.
So why might parties choose mediation?
Advantages of mediation include:
- Saving money
- Faster resolution
- Less conflict
- A more relaxed environment
- Completely confidentiality
- Retaining control over the process and outcome
How much does mediation cost?
There are a number of mediators in Colorado. Choose one that you feel comfortable with. Typically mediators have a two-hour minimum charge and split their hourly rate between the parties. Hourly rates can vary depending on the mediator’s experience.
If you are looking for a more economical option, you may want to consider using the Office of Dispute Resolution.
You can also use a private mediator. They range in experience and price. Doing a quick online search will produce many results to choose from.
This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.
Lauren Lester is an affordable family law, estate planning, and probate lawyer licensed in Colorado.