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The 3 styles of mediation: Which one is right for your divorce?

Most Colorado divorce lawyers will laud the many benefits that come from mediating a divorce. In fact, if your mediation is successful, the benefits include (1) saving a great deal of money on legal fees and court costs, (2) saving time, and (3) preventing stress and toxic emotional circumstances.

Let's say, for example, that your marriage has lasted 15 years. You and your ex can communicate rationally - or as rationally as can be expected for two people going through a divorce - and you both feel like you can work through any divorce-related disagreements in a civil and diplomatic fashion. For you and your spouse, mediation could be the best way to finalize your divorce agreement.

Choosing what kind of mediation style is right for you

Once you've decided to mediate, you will need to choose a style of mediation to suit your needs. The style may be selected for you based on what your respective divorce lawyers prefer; however, you may also want to have a say in the decision.

Here are the three main styles of mediation in use today:

  • Facilitative mediation: This is probably the most popular style of mediation. Here, the mediator guides the parties along a structured discussion and negotiation to arrive at a fair and mutually agreed-upon divorce settlement. During facilitative mediation, the mediator will ask questions while normalizing and validating the parties' feelings and viewpoints. The mediator does not offer recommendations of his or her own, nor does he or she give opinions or advice regarding outcome. The mediator manages the process, and the parties manage the result.

  • Evaluative mediation: This is similar to facilitative mediation with one very important difference. The evaluative mediator plays the active role of pointing out weaknesses and strengths in either party's side. The evaluative mediator will also predict how a judge would decide the matter, and make informal or formal recommendations with regard to the outcome of the settlement negotiations. The mediator will do "shuttle diplomacy" by having separate discussions with either party and their attorneys.

  • Transformative mediation: This is the newest kind of mediation that seeks to empower all the parties. It demands that each party recognize the other party's interests, needs, points of view and values. In this style of mediation, all the parties meet at once to recognize each other's points of view. The parties create and control both the direction and result of the process.

Get help with mediating your divorce case

A Colorado divorce attorney can help you determine what style of divorce mediation is right for you and your ex. Your lawyer, who will be by your side during the mediation process, can help you stay as neutral and diplomatic as possible during mediation discussions while protecting your legal rights toward a fair and equitable divorce settlement.

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