"...it is the general sentiment of the Court that parties know their cases better than the Court ever will..."
What is Mediation?
Nearly every single county in the State of Colorado requires some sort of alternative dispute resolution prior to scheduling contested hearings.
The Court may schedule a contested hearing before mediation is completed, but may also cancel the hearing if mediation was not completed before the hearing occurs. This is especially true in family law matters. This mandate was intended to help the Court manage overflowing dockets and protracted litigation. However, it is the general sentiment of the Court that parties know their cases better than the Court ever will and that the parties alone know what is best for themselves and their families.
Because the court requires mediation,
the State of Colorado Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) engages independent contractors in every county to provide an affordable option for parties to participate in mediation, often at the courthouse. Some contractors will travel or host in private offices. The current rate is $150 per hour. If parties cannot agree on a private mediator, they must use the ODR. In any event, these mediators will schedule up to four mediations in a day and often do not have the time to devote to cases that need more than the typical two hour minimum. As such, this option may be the most affordable, but it is often the least productive. Many attorneys will select this option when it appears there is little to no likelihood of settlement. But in any mediation, even the smallest agreements can become the foundation for subsequent agreements.
There are a host of private mediators all over the state that provide private mediation services with hourly rates that are higher than the ODR and can be upwards of $500 per hour. These mediators are often attorneys, paralegals, and former judicial officers who will host and travel for usually one-half day or full day sessions. Private mediators are usually chosen by mutual agreement of the parties. They are chosen for their effectiveness, experience, and availability. The best mediators are generally booked up to three months in advance, so it is important to start discussing private mediators sooner than later.
“…it is important to start discussing private mediators sooner than later.”
Given the conflict in virtually all family law matters, mediators generally caucus in mediation meaning that the parties remain in separate rooms and the mediator shuttles back and forth between the rooms. This enables the parties to remain focused on settlement discussions and less on the conflict. All mediations are confidential so that the parties are able to propose solutions that cannot be used against them later.
If the parties reach an agreement that is reduced to writing and signed, it is not confidential. Mediators and their notes cannot be subpoenaed to testify.
Advanced preparation and efficiency are necessary tools for a successful mediation. While some parties just need to get things off their chest, it is important to remain focused on the parties’ objectives so that they do not stand in the way of resolution. We always prepare proposed agreements in advance and provide the mediator with sufficient information to familiarize him/herself so that we can get right to work without getting stuck on the past. The most important thing is to attempt to leave with something in writing. Otherwise parties can become even more polarized after mediation. Some attorneys believe that partial agreements are appropriate while others believe that partial agreements eliminate negotiation tools when attempting full agreement. An experienced attorney will identify if any partial agreement makes sense in each and every mediation.
Denver Mediation Attorney for Divorce and Custody Law
Conflict is an unavoidable aspect of the legal world and its many subsequent proceedings. It tends to be what brings people to the courtroom in the first place.
Unfortunately, when conflict is examined at a legal level, communication is generally the first thing to break down between parties as emotions rise. No matter what issue is at hand, the personal connection to a conflict can make it next to impossible for opposing parties to engage in productive conversation.
When the act of communication has reached its limits, mediation is often a successful solution for opposing parties facing legal conflict. At Márquez Law, finding a qualified and caring mediation attorney is a simple process.
Mediation Services for Divorces and Custody Arrangements in Denver
When you’re looking for a mediation attorney in Denver, your search stops with Márquez Law. Finding a mediation lawyer that thoroughly understands your legal situation is key to achieving successful results. At Márquez Law, our team cares for our clients and caters to personalized mediation needs.
Mediation is a legal proceeding where a neutral third party, often a mediation lawyer, helps two parties facilitate an agreement they can’t reach on their own. Mediation is often used when two parties are attempting to agree to the terms of a divorce, alimony, or child custody arrangement.
At Márquez Law, your Denver mediation lawyer is guaranteed to be a highly skilled mediator. Our staff comes prepared to handle tough situations with the patience, calm, and insight it takes to reach successful agreements.
Your mediation attorney in Denver will be a trained and impartial third person who can assist disputing parties in their attempts to reach a settlement. The role of a Denver mediation attorney is not to make decisions for the opposing parties or pass judgment, but simply to help both sides come to an agreement that works for everyone.
How to Know if a Mediation Attorney is the Right Choice
For some parties involved in legal disputes, communication falls apart rapidly making it clear that a mediator is the only way to reach an agreement. For others, there are a few more questions to ask along the way before mediation is decided upon as the best option.
While attendance at mediation is occasionally voluntary, there are instances when attendance is mandated by statute or contract clause. In almost every county in the state of Colorado, mediation is required in cases regarding child custody, alimony, and divorce.
The Emotional and Productive Benefits of Mediation
There is a long list of reasons as to why mediation is a beneficial option when faced with legal conflict. It can be a rather straightforward solution in what otherwise feels like a complicated situation.
Mediation not only provides additional time for both parties to discuss important matters outside of the courtroom but gives everyone the time they need to come to reasonable, and even creative solutions that work. Having the time to think options through can give each party a much-needed sense of control over the outcome rather than feeling rushed and overwhelmed at trial.
Open discussion is key to finding solutions in legal conflict and mediation provides a confidential space for both parties to air frustrations that will not subsequently be discussed in court. For some parties, this is an emotional release they need to move forward. Others find mediation to be a safe space to say what it is they truly hope to achieve—more clearly defining their needs and goals.
Ultimately, mediation is a conflict management tool that helps opposing parties face legal disputes in a more prepared and positive way. In general, resolving legal matters through mediation proves to be less costly than pursuing a trial. Mediation can help both parties save on fees and expenses linked to trail preparation as well.
Preparing for Mediation with an Attorney from Marquez Law
Before mediation ever begins, those working with a mediation attorney from Márquez Law should take time to define their personal mediation goals. Having a list of issues you’re hoping to resolve during mediation can make it easier to define the process.
Having a firm grasp of your needs and interests in relation to the issues at hand will help the mediation process along. To make progress, it’s imperative that each party involved thoroughly understands the issues being mediated.
Just as important as understanding your own needs is being able to understand the interests of the opposing party. If there is a miscommunication on this front, your mediation attorney will be able to address it quickly. Feel free to write down what you think the other party’s goals might be before the mediation begins.
Mediation is about improved communication and solutions, but it’s also a process that takes logistics and financial facts into account. To that end, it’s important to bring court orders, relevant documents, and necessary financial records to mediation.
Clients that are facing child support issues will want to be sure to have documentation of their income as well as a completed financial affidavit to mediation for their mediator’s review. It’s common for mediators to request that both parties submit confidential position statements documenting their take on the history of the conflict.
These confidential position statements are likely to include information regarding how each party views the conflict and how, if at all, the situation has previously been attempted to be settled. Oftentimes these statements also request each party to assess the strength and weakness of their own position as well as that of the opposing party.
While legal disputes are complicated, including a mediator in the journey can simplify the resolution process and help bring emotions back down to a manageable level. Contact Márquez Law today to learn more about how our Denver mediation attorneys can help you.
Attorney Márquez provides private Mediation services. Rates start at $250 per hour with a three hour minimum, payable in advance. We will host or travel within the metropolitan area and provide thirty minutes of time to review documents in advance at no additional charge.
Attorney Márquez’s extensive experience in high conflict, complex financial, and high asset family law cases affords him the unique ability to help parties find detailed and often creative solutions to solve their cases. He is an empathetic and active listener, but more importantly, he is honest, practical and effective. Less time is spent on rehashing the conflict than on understanding the conflict to formulate options that lead to resolutions.
We look forward to assisting you find ways to resolve your complex cases efficiently and fairly.