The Law defines Mediation as the process where one neutral person helps persons in conflict reach an agreement which resolves the conflict.
Mediation as Usual is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The alternative to Mediation is Litigation, thus Mediation is typically a process where a neutral third party, a Mediator, helps people find personalized solutions to issues creating conflict in their lives.
The process looks at the needs of the individuals to find creative solutions in a non-adversarial, dignified and respectful setting. There is no Winner or Loser. In Mediation, individuals create solutions they can live with by collaborating and at times compromising to develop a problem-solving solution with the support and guidance of a Mediator.
If individuals reach a solution, it is called an Agreement, or a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the agreement is reduced to a writing which all individuals sign to commemorate the agreement and so they can use that document to guide them in the future.
If individuals do not reach an agreement, the process is still valuable. Often, individuals who do not reach an agreement after one meeting, upon having time to reflect and consider, ultimately find a way to reach a consensus and resolve the issues causing conflict.
Child Smart Mediation is similar to regular mediation, except that parents are able to hear from a Licensed Mental Health professional, called a Child Consultant, who is an expert in child development about how the children are doing as the adults work on reorganizing their family structure. Parents can then take that information into consideration as they work toward creating their parenting arrangements. In this way, parents, and attorneys if parents have attorneys, receive current information from the Child Consultant about how the children are coping with the stresses of separation or divorce. This process gives children the chance to express their needs and concerns and gives parents the chance to take that information into consideration as they work out their parenting arrangements. Child Smart Mediation gives children a Voice not a Choice in the parenting arrangement. Parents always retain their parental authority in creating the parenting arrangement.
Retired Magistrate Judge Sullivan has access to the resources that can help a family with Child Smart Mediation.
A Settlement Conference under Colorado Law (specificially §13-22-302(7) ), allows the parties to discuss the particular facts of their case with a neutral third party that will tell the parties about the law that applies, precedent that relates to the disputed facts and what options the parties may have to reach acceptable and appropriate compromises to resolve their dispute. Retired Magistrate Sullivan, with two decades of experience and knowledge in the field of Family Law has assisted many families with this process through her position and is well equipped to help parties through the Settlement Conference process. She is detailed oriented and well versed in the law and legal precedent.