When mentioning the word "divorce" in Colorado, the first thought that comes to most minds is that of a protracted court battle with the participants in dispute about every issue large and small. In some cases, this is the reality and it makes no sense to suggest options other than going to court. In others, however, the issues that precipitated the divorce are not contentious and the couple is able to maintain a civil if not outright friendly relationship as they seek to resolve their differences and end the marriage.
For those who believe there is the foundation for an agreement without going before a judge, mediation or arbitration could be preferable. It might also save time and money. Obviously, not every case is meant to be settled with the parties in negotiation or having a third party listen to their concerns and make suggestions. Some people need a judge to make the decisions. But, knowing that mediation and arbitration are available options can be an appealing strategy.
With mediation, the couple will work with a mediator who has been specifically trained to help them sift through their issues, find common ground, show flexibility and perhaps come to an amicable agreement. With arbitration, it is akin to litigation when compared to mediation, except there is no judge and the parties have agreed to use the arbitrator with no obligation to agree to the suggestions. The parties will have legal representation to protect their interests.
Many parts of a divorce, from child support to alimony to division of assets and more, can be settled with collaborative negotiation in lieu of an ongoing emotionally and financially draining dispute. Speaking to a law firm that has experience in all aspects of divorce and that can explain the benefits of alternatives, such as mediation or arbitration, might be a time and money saver and keep the couple from turning into enemies if it is not necessary to do so.