Mediation Tips: Preparing for Your First Mediation Session

What to Expect from Mediation

If you are a Colorado resident currently facing a family law issue like divorce or other legal dispute, mediation can provide you with an alternative to going through the court system. Mediation is basically an informal process between two parties facilitated by a neutral third-party mediator to settle contested matters and create agreements that work for everyone involved. Although it includes compromises from both sides, mediation also offers participants more autonomy over their interests than they would get if they took their case before a judge.

Mediation can be used to resolve several family law disputes, including:

  • Divorce issues
  • Property division settlements
  • Debt division settlements
  • Child custody matters
  • Visitation schedule conflicts
  • Parenting plan issues
  • Spousal support disputes

Preparing for your first mediation session may seem daunting, but arming yourself with knowledge about what to expect can help make the entire process smoother and easier overall. Keep reading for three helpful tips on preparing for your first mediation session.

Tip #1: Manage Your Expectations

It is important to have realistic expectations during a family law mediation session. It can be helpful to understand that the process is aimed at helping parties reach an agreement and that only some issues will be able to be resolved in one session. Treating mediation as an opportunity for negotiation allows parties to stay focused on their goals while still exploring all possible paths toward resolution.

It's also important to know that family law mediators do not take sides or provide legal representation for either party. Instead, they act as facilitators to help couples keep an open dialog and stay on track while they work towards a resolution. Mediators will provide guidance and offer suggestions, but it is ultimately up to the parties to decide how to move forward and what solutions best suit their interests.

Tip #2: Be Open-Minded & Ready to Compromise

Mediation aims to create a mutually beneficial agreement that all parties are happy with or are at least amenable to. Part of achieving this goal is acknowledging that both parties need to make compromises and recognize each other's interests. Only through this shift in perspective can you create a productive dialogue, even when dealing with challenging disputes.

To achieve this, it is helpful to come into the session with a list of goals that are realistic and achievable. This can help focus the conversation on important matters and ensure everyone is on the same page. Additionally, hiring an experienced mediator can help provide insight and guidance as each side works to negotiate the best outcome. Taking breaks between sessions can also make it more possible for both sides to reach a successful resolution.

Tip #3: Take Time to Prepare with Your Attorney

Preparing for your mediation session with your attorney is essential for achieving a successful outcome. Gathering all necessary documents and information before the session is key, as it allows you to be informed and prepared to discuss your top goals, needs, and interests. It is also beneficial to consider what a good resolution would look like for you and brainstorm possible solutions that could work for both parties involved.

Having all this information beforehand ensures the process runs smoothly, allowing you to focus on determining the best way forward during mediation. It can also provide you with a stabilizing foundation if you feel like you are struggling to remain calm and focused. If things start to go sideways, you can return to your plan and refocus the session.

Don't Be Afraid to Try Mediation

If you are going through a difficult divorce, it can feel like nothing will make things better, and you are likely longing for it to be over. However, with the help of a mediator, you may be able to reach a resolution with your former partner or co-parent and avoid the stress and expense of courtroom litigation. For many people, mediation provides them with the breathing room and space they need to step back and consider the whole picture.

While we don't want you to be afraid to try mediation, we do want to make sure you arm yourself with knowledge beforehand. Mediation can be a beneficial tool for resolving family law disputes. Still, it is important to consult with your attorney first to ensure that it is the right choice for your situation. It may only be suitable for some families or divorcing couples. If you decide that mediation is not the right path for you, that is okay, and there are other avenues to explore.

If you are considering mediation to deal with your divorce, custody, or other family law dispute, give our law firm a call. With extensive mediation experience, the Law Firm of Greg Quimby, P.C. can help you determine if this is a good option for your situation.

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