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Family Mediation Frequently Asked Questions
Are you An Attorney? Can you give legal advice in the mediation?
Yes, I am an attorney that practices primarily in the family law/domestic relations area. However, a mediator should never provide legal advice to participants in a mediation Fort Collins. Instead, my experience as an attorney allows me to educate participants about the general framework of the law and what courts consider when making decisions. This allows participants to make more informed decisions, but participants should always seek independent legal advice if they want or need it.
What happens if one party refuses to participate in mediation?
If one party refuses to participate in mediation, it can complicate the resolution of a family dispute, but the process can still move forward, and the consequences may vary depending on the circumstances.
In many cases, however, a court will mandate mediation Fort Collins before parties can pursue litigation, and refusal to participate can lead to the refusing party receiving fines or sanctions. In the event where mediation has not been ordered, such as prior to a motion being filed, it is still in the best interest of both parties to participate, so it is likely that the lawyer of the refusing party will encourage them to change their mind and work together.
Are the discussions during the mediation confidential?
Confidentiality is a fundamental aspect of the mediation process, and discussions during mediation are confidential with only a few clear exceptions such as threats to harm one’s self, children, or at-risk adults. All of the rules governing what should be kept confidential and what can be shared with the other side are discussed at the start of mediation.
How do you ensure the safety of participants during mediation, especially in cases involving domestic violence or abuse?
Mediation should never put anyone at risk or force vulnerable parties into potentially harmful situations. As your mediator, I take careful consideration and screen each case for a history of domestic violence or abuse. If there are restraining orders, or if the parties do not feel safe being in the same space (virtual or physical), I conduct separate sessions with each party so both parties do not have to directly interact.
If both parties prefer to have joint sessions, we set ground rules for appropriate behavior during the mediation to create an understanding that threatening or abusive behavior will not be tolerated, and we have sessions in a neutral area where I have identified a safe exit strategy and emergency plan in the event that the abusive party member escalates.
As a mediator, creating safe spaces for productive discussion is a top priority.
Can decisions made in mediation be modified or enforced later if necessary?
Decisions made in mediation can be modified or enforced later, depending on the nature of the decisions and the specific circumstances. It’s important to note that the enforceability and modifiability of mediated decisions can vary based on factors such as the nature of the dispute, and the legal status of the agreement. Parties should carefully consider their options and seek legal advice when necessary to navigate any modifications or enforcement issues effectively. Additionally, ensuring that mediated agreements are clear, comprehensive, and legally sound from the outset can help minimize the need for modifications and disputes later on.
How long does the family mediation process usually take?
The duration of the mediation process can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the complexity of the issues involved, the willingness of the parties to reach agreements, and the mediator’s approach. The standard mediation session is 2 hours long, and provides enough time to address one or two major issues.
What issues can be addressed during family mediation?
Family mediation is a flexible process that can address a wide range of issues related to family disputes. While the specific issues addressed during family mediation can vary depending on the needs and circumstances of the parties involved, here are some common issues that can be resolved through family mediation:
- Divorce and Separation
- Child Custody and Visitation
- Child Support
- Parenting Plans
- Property and Asset Division
- Spousal Support, or Alimony
- Family Business Disputes
- Estate and Inheritance matters
- Applicability and Enforceability of Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
- Blended family issues – such as integration of step siblings
- Disputes Over Family Property – such as heirlooms
- Cohabitation Agreements
It’s important to note that family mediation is a flexible and collaborative process, and it can be tailored to address the specific needs and concerns of the parties involved. My role as a mediator is to facilitate productive communication and help parties reach mutually acceptable solutions to their unique family issues.