What is mediation and how does it work?

Mediation is a confidential, cooperative, problem-solving process, in which an impartial professional helps people in conflict reach agreements that are mutually beneficial.  As mediators, it is our role to help you identify all the issues that need to be addressed and resolved, and to assist you in creating mutually beneficial and practical working solutions to the problems.  A mediator does not impose a solution, but rather assists the conflicting parties in creating their own agreement.  As mediators, we do not represent either party.  Our responsibility is to be neutral and we may not provide legal advice.  We generally meet with all parties together, but in extremely difficult or high conflict situations we can arrange for the parties to be in separate meeting rooms.  We can create an environment in which you can feel safe and supported as you resolve your conflict.  When an agreement is reached, the parties along with the mediator will record the agreement in writing.  These agreements are accepted by State and Federal law but we suggest that they be reviewed by an attorney before they are filed with the court.  If the parties fail to reach an agreement through the mediation process, they still have the option of pursuing all legal remedies. 

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  • Faster in scheduling and resolution
  • Completed in fewer sessions depending on the parties positions and complexity of the issues at hand. 
  • Safe.  It is a process that balances power and allows both parties to safely learn about all sides of the issue through the process of respectful communication
  • A process whereby the disputants - not outsiders -create and control the decisions
  • Less costly in time, expenses, and emotions as compared to arbitration or litigation
  • Private and confidential - the disputants decide what information is revealed.  Full disclosure by all parties is required, but unlike a public legal proceeding, “What is said here stays here.”
  • Informal and conducted in a more relaxed atmosphere as compared to the more formal process of arbitration or trial. 
  • An opportunity for the parties to create a resolution to the differences vs.  having another decide the outcome. 
  • A process to support and preserve roles and relationships that can be damaged in :family and parenting disputes; intergenerational conflicts; workplace disputes; employer/employee disputes. 

What are the disadvantages?

We believe there are none. Even if the dispute is not resolved the parties will come away from the mediation better informed and focused on what their range of options are.  Additionally, any partial agreements made can become the basis of your final settlement, leaving fewer open issues to be resolved by other means.

What disputes are suitable for mediation?

Virtually all disputes lend themselves to mediation, but the following are particularly suitable for consideration:

  • complex business litigation
  • consumer issues
  • family law cases involving divorce, child custody, elder care concerns, and property issues
  • employment and discrimination
  • cases involving gender, age or race
  • civil rights
  • sexual harassment
  • legal and medical malpractice
  • personal injury
  • real estate contract disputes and landlord / tenant
  • community conflict – homes associations/home owners
  • will contests and estate division
  • class action cases

What do I need to do to have the best outcome in mediation?

  • Do your homework in advance so that you are prepared with information and questions about the issues that concern you. Being prepared helps you get to your concerns quicker.
  • Mediation is a good faith process therefore it is essential that all parties are forthright and truthful with the information provided.  This establishes good faith and allows disputes to be resolved faster.
  • Prioritize what's important to you.  Look at the whole picture.  Don't limit yourself to one issue.  Be aware of what you value most.
  • Be patient.  Mediation is a process that takes time.
  • Focus on the future and be solution focused.  While the past may be discussed, you cannot undo it.  Remember, this is the time for you to create your future and what your resolution will look and feel like.  This is your time to negotiate for ‘best options’ while recognizing the rights and interests of all parties.
  • Rather than focusing on your response, strive to listen carefully.  Take notes.  Be certain you understand what is said. Clarify by asking questions of both the mediator and the other party.
  • Avoid confrontational remarks and verbal put-downs.  Focus on the problem instead of on who's to blame.
  • Commit to generating solutions.  If you say no, offer another reasonable solution. While you don't have to agree to anything that you think is unfair, you should consider every proposal seriously -- and sincerely consider how it can be modified.  Is there something else that might make the proposal more appealing to you?
  • Review any documents or information provided during mediation.  Be certain they are clear and complete.
  • Use time as your friend.  Take time to think about information, discussions and proposals before reacting or shutting down the negotiations.  Commit to actively negotiate the issues to resolve the dispute.
  • Remember, if you don't resolve the dispute, a stranger in a black robe may be deciding it for you.

What will I need to bring?

Please bring any documents or records that are pertinent to the dispute.

In cases concerning divorce and/or child support it is helpful if you can bring the following information with you to the first mediation session (if you have problems our questions we can assist you):

  1. A completed financial affidavit. (Filled out with your estimated post separation expenses)
  2. Copies of your 3 most recent pay stubs
  3. As much information on assets as you can collect.  I.e. automobile VIN numbers, saving, banking and loan/mortgage account numbers, property descriptions, brokerage statements, appraisals, etc…
  4. Completed child support worksheet


Where are the forms I need?

You can find the appropriate Child Support and Financial Affidavit information at this link: http://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/SubCategory.cfm?Category=Domestic

Here is a complete list of forms:

We are mediating our divorce. Can we complete all the forms and file our divorce ourselves?

Yes, we can assist you with your forms and “walk you through” the process of filing.

Why do you recommend that we have our agreement reviewed by an attorney?  How will that save us money?

We make this recommendation in order for you to be confident that all your legal rights have been protected and so that you can be confident that you have achieved a balanced and binding agreement.  We can recommend attorneys who work on a per hour basis.  Most agreements can be reviewed at minimal expense.

Is the mediator neutral? How can I be sure that you won’t “take sides?”

The mediation process depends on the strict neutrality and impartiality of the mediator.  While the mediator may challenge the parties to move off of their positions or "reality check" with them about the practicality of a proposed solution, the mediator will absolutely not take sides in the dispute.

Do mediators practice under a code of ethics?

Yes, we are committed to practice under the ethical guidelines of  The Mediators revised Code of Professional Conduct

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Still have questions? Read Mediation: The Better Way or Contact Us

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Colorado ADR Services

Miles E. Davies, JD has been a practicing mediator and arbitrator in the Denver area since 1996.