Divorce and family law matters do not have to be a fight. For many reasons, out-of-court resolutions are preferable to litigation. The process is typically quicker and less expensive. There is less acrimony and you have more control over the outcome.
At Hogan Omidi, PC, we are believers in alternative dispute resolution, including family law mediation and arbitration. We can provide legal counsel as you engage in mediated or arbitrated proceedings, or our lawyers can serve as neutral mediators and settlement masters. We invite you to explore whether these methods are a good fit for your situation.
From Halleh’s interview for the Masters of Family Law series on ReelLawyers.com
Mediation Of Divorce And Family Law Issues
In mediation, a neutral third party facilitates discussion and negotiations between the spouses. The mediator is typically a lawyer or former judge, or another professional such as a mental health counselor. Many Colorado jurisdictions require the parties to attempt to reach resolution through mediation before they can proceed to trial. Settlement agreements also often require mediation of post-divorce disputes before either party can petition the court.
- Dividing marital assets and debts
- Custody, visitation and parenting plans
- Child support and spousal maintenance
- Visitation by grandparents and third parties
While the mediator can suggest solutions, the mediator cannot impose decisions and mediation is nonbinding. However, if the parties do reach a written agreement in mediation on some or all of the issues, it is filed with the court and it is just as binding as a judgment at trial. It is common to have lawyers attend mediation sessions to provide advice before or during discussions.
Arbitration As An Alternative To Trial
Like a mediator, an arbitrator is a neutral third party who assists in resolving disputes. However, arbitration is similar to a trial. The arbitrator listens to both sides and renders a decision on the disputed issues. The key difference is that the arbitrator’s rulings are final and binding and can only be appealed to the court in limited circumstances. Parties can agree to submit their dispute to arbitration and can agree on who the arbitrator will be. A court will enforce an agreement to submit a dispute to arbitration but cannot compel parties to submit a dispute to arbitration absent such an agreement.
What are the advantages? Arbitration avoids the delays associated with overcrowded court dockets in many areas of Colorado. Arbitration also allows parties to keep more of their personal and financial information sealed from the general public. These proceedings require the same careful preparation and courtroom skills as a traditional trial. Our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in family law arbitrations.
Is Alternative Dispute Resolution Right For You?
Our family law attorneys are happy to discuss the pros and cons of mediation and arbitration as they apply to your situation. We practice in the Denver metro area, with offices in Cherry Creek and Aspen.