Mediation in Colorado refers to a process of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that helps individuals resolve conflicts outside of the traditional court system. It is a voluntary and confidential process facilitated by a neutral third party called a mediator.
Mediation is governed by the Colorado Revised Statutes, specifically Title 13, Article 22, Part 3, which establishes the guidelines and requirements for mediation in the state. The statutes emphasize the importance of mediation as a means to promote peaceful resolution, reduce court congestion, and preserve relationships between parties.
Here are some key points to understand about mediation in Colorado:
Mediation is a voluntary process, meaning that all parties must agree to participate. It cannot be imposed on anyone, and individuals can choose to opt out or withdraw from mediation at any time. However, the court may order the parties to attend mediation as part of the court process.
A mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties involved in the dispute. The mediator does not take sides or provide legal advice but assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution.
Mediation proceedings in Colorado are generally confidential. This means that discussions, statements, and documents shared during mediation cannot be used as evidence in court unless the parties agree otherwise or if there are exceptions provided by law.
Scope of Mediation:
Mediation can be used to address various types of disputes, including family matters (such as divorce, child custody, or parenting plans), civil disputes, landlord-tenant conflicts, workplace disputes, and more. It can also be utilized at different stages of a legal process, from pre-litigation to ongoing court cases.
If the parties are able to reach a resolution through mediation, the outcome is documented in a written agreement. This agreement, signed by all parties, outlines the terms and conditions of the settlement and is enforceable in court.
In some cases, mediation may be court-connected, meaning that it is ordered or recommended by a judge as part of the legal process. Court-connected mediation programs are available in various jurisdictions throughout Colorado, and their procedures may vary.
While mediation can be a beneficial process for many disputes, it may not be suitable for all situations. It’s advisable to consult with a legal professional to determine the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of your case.