In Colorado, in every Family Law case, the Courts will require a Mediation prior to the Permanent Orders Hearing (and often times, prior to other hearings as well).
A Mediation is when all parties (and usually their attorneys) meet in one place at one time with a 3rd Party Professional Mediator in an attempt to settle the issues between them. The process is confidential and what is said at Mediation cannot be used in Court – this helps promote settlement. I often times utilize a retired Judge as the Mediator as their judicial perspective also helps promote settlement.
In my view, Mediation is a productive, cost effective way to resolve your Family Law case.
Here are some solid tips that will help facilitate the mediation process and promote your best opportunity for settlement.
Listen to what the other person has to say. That means really hearing their words and having good eye contact and being inquisitive about what they’re saying. Sometimes, we are too busy framing our own rebuttal and we don’t truly hear what’s been said. Actually pay attention to the conversation.
Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. With an “I” statement, you are telling the other person what is going on with you. With a “you” statement, you are placing blame on the other person and making him or her feel defensive. So, for example, it’s better to say, “I need help preparing the kids for bed” instead of “You never help put the kids to bed.”
Be open to the other side’s perspective. Instead of immediately taking an adverse position, try to understand that there may be shades of gray. Your side of the story is not necessarily the only version. It’s helpful to see the problem from the other person’s perspective as well.
Focus on interests, not positions. Positions are rigid and do not look at the underlying needs of both parties, or the minor children.. Interests, instead, get to the heart of the matter and address a person’s true needs and concerns
Explore options together. Be open to there being a number of choices/options that could benefit both parties to the discussion. Be creative and open-minded as you look at various approaches and solutions.
Look forward, not back. Try not to get entangled in emotions and grievances between you and the other party. That will keep you stuck in the past and unable to resolve your issues. If you concentrate on how things can be better going forward, you’re more likely to come up with a viable and lasting solution.
Please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann Nagel Margulis for all of your Family Law needs.