Overcoming Objections to Mediation

Overcoming Objections to Mediation by Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. DenverAt Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. in Denver, I know that overcoming objections to mediation can be difficult. One party is all for it while the other is hesitant to participate simply because he or she doesn’t understand the benefits. Typically, once this individual understands that mediation can actually make the divorce process smoother, more private, and less expensive, that person is quite willing to engage in the process.

If you are interested in mediation, but your spouse is reluctant, take a look at some common misunderstandings that people have of the mediation process. With this information, you may be able to work towards overcoming objections to mediation.

They feel your communication breakdown will prevent reaching an agreement.

If communication is a problem in your marriage (and it often is), I can guide the conversation and provide the structure needed to help the mediation process along. I will help both parties avoid falling into negative behavior patterns, and I will facilitate positive, respectful communication. Together, we’ll work towards a divorce agreement that both parties can readily accept.

If children are involved, mediation can be a very constructive way to address the emotional health and well-being of your children, as well as living arrangements, parenting time, school, and medical issues. My experience with successful mediation shows that there are healthy ways for spouses who don’t agree to reach agreements that will help them get through a very difficult situation and move on with their lives.

They don’t want the divorce.

Sometimes a spouse holds a grudge. If you’re the one that wanted the divorce, for whatever reason, the other person’s hesitancy may simply be because you suggested it. We can often succeed at overcoming objections to mediation by showing your spouse what’s in it for him/her, including a process that isn’t adversarial, more control over the outcome, more privacy, and lower litigation costs.

They believe your financial situation is too complex for mediation.

As an attorney mediator, I have experience in dealing with a variety of very complex financial situations. My goal is to help you both find ways to achieve an equitable division of assets. We can discuss tax issues, assets and debts, investments, retirement accounts, and much more. Together, we’ll walk through your finances and determine the next steps.

They think it involves therapy.

Mediation is not therapy. It is an alternative to the courtroom proceedings for a divorce. I will help both parties communicate with each other during this mutual problem-solving process. The goal is to work together to find solutions to which you can both agree, instead of allowing a judge to make these important decisions for you. I will provide guidance, structure and suggestions for open, effective communication, but it will ultimately be up to you and your spouse to work through your emotions so that the process can move forward. There is no therapy involved.

They are afraid you will hide assets.

It doesn’t matter if you navigate your divorce through mediation or a courtroom; there are no guarantees that both spouses will disclose all of their assets. However, I’ve observed that mediation and good communication usually generates more openness in both parties. If a spouse does hide assets, the other spouse has legal rights to pursue action.

They think that they can’t receive help or advice from an attorney if they mediate.

As a mediator, I do not represent one side. My goal is to remain neutral and help both parties reach a consensus on important marital concerns like financial, parenting and legal matters. I will explain the process and the issues, then guide you both as you work toward an agreement. However, both spouses have the right to have an attorney involved as much or as little as desired. Each of you has the right to have an attorney review any agreement before it is signed. Mediation and attorney input are not mutually exclusive.

If you or your spouse has questions or concerns about mediation, please contact me at Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. in Denver. We can begin overcoming objections to mediation by discussing the process and how it benefits both sides. Once everyone is comfortable with the process, we’ll move forward with creating an equitable agreement that enables both of you to move on with your separate lives.


Blogs and articles by Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. are for educational purposes only and to give you a general understanding of the law, not to provide any legal advice or be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed, professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction.

Use all blogs and articles at your own risk. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. These materials may be changed, improved, or updated without notice. Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this site or for damages arising from the use or performance of this site under any circumstances. By reading our blog and articles you also understand that there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C.

How to Communicate Effectively During a Divorce

How to Communicate Effectively During a DivorceLearning how to communicate effectively during a divorce is a monumental challenge. Here at Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. in Denver, I offer a divorce mediation process that will not only help keep your divorce out of the courts but facilitate non-adversarial communication. I’ll provide expert guidance and support so that both parties can effectively navigate their way through a very difficult process with grace, respect, and self-determination.

While going through divorce can be one of the most trying times in your life, knowing how to communicate effectively during a divorce can potentially ease some of the stress. Here are a few ways to develop more productive discussions during your divorce.

Be Respectful in Tone

Clearly, the relationship has broken down or you wouldn’t be seeking a divorce. You or your spouse may be consumed by raw emotions and resentment. If you want discussions to be effective, the parties can’t fall into old patterns of yelling, mocking each other, accusing each other with judgmental tones or using abusive words. These tones are inappropriate and will lead to a communication breakdown, either in court or during divorce mediation. Speaking honestly yet respectfully is the most productive way that open communication can take place.

Stay Focused on the Issues

No one said divorce was going to be easy. It can be difficult to examine and assign assets, debts, and decisions regarding your children and even pets. Having to come to an agreement on these things can create extreme emotions that can be very disruptive.

At Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C., I work with many clients who are experiencing frustration, anger, sadness, and bitterness. However, I provide the guidance and structure needed to ensure that talks are not wasted on rehashing old wounds, placing blame for old hurts or arguing over things that can’t be changed, all of which can stall the divorce and mediation process. Once you understand how to communicate effectively during a divorce, both parties can then focus more easily and discussions can move along more smoothly.

Agree to Boundaries

It’s important to set limits during the divorce process. Because you were once so close and know each other so well, it can be easy to cross boundaries. If you decide when, how often, and in what ways you will communicate, you will likely be more successful. Depending on the current state of your relationship, talking on the phone or in person with each other may be difficult; if so, you can try email. If you choose mediation and prefer to be in separate rooms during the meeting, I can arrange that.

Use an Experienced Mediator

Divorce mediation is a great opportunity for many couples to come to an amicable agreement that both sides can live with as they move forward in their separate lives. There’s no winning or losing. However, in order to be successful, you should seek out a reputable and experienced mediator who can provide you with guidance and support. An impartial mediator will listen to both sides, encourage communication and work towards a mutually agreeable outcome.

Mediation is often a positive alternative to going through the courts. Once you understand how to communicate effectively during a divorce, mediation can foster your skills through ongoing discussions to resolve all issues and come to an agreement. At Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C., I can help you amicably achieve your goals and move on with your lives.


Blogs and articles by Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. are for educational purposes only and to give you a general understanding of the law, not to provide any legal advice or be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed, professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction.

Use all blogs and articles at your own risk. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. These materials may be changed, improved, or updated without notice. Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this site or for damages arising from the use or performance of this site under any circumstances. By reading our blog and articles you also understand that there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C.

10 Great Reasons to Choose Divorce Mediation

10 Great Reasons to Choose Divorce MediationGoing through a divorce? Today, Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. in Denver shares 10 great reasons to choose divorce mediation. Over the years, I’ve given clients a way to take control of their future instead of leaving it in the hands of a judge. As a mediator and neutral third party, I can work with both sides to help resolve issues and achieve an equitable outcome – all without going to court.

So, let’s look at 10 great reasons to choose divorce mediation over litigation with a judge.

  1. Offers a confidential way to reach compromise.

It’s never ideal to discuss family problems in a courtroom. Mediation allows all talks and documents to be privileged and confidential. Meetings are always private.

  1. Typically provides a less expensive divorce option.

The court process can cost a lot of money. In fact, contentious and lengthy divorce court battles can lead to financial ruin for some couples. Divorce mediation reduces the stress and expense.

  1. Gives you more personal attention.

Litigation in court can be frustrating because it often feels like your side is not being heard. Mediation lets you speak and be understood. A skilled and experienced mediator works toward a consensus on all issues, offers options, and helps the parties negotiate until both sides arrive at a final agreement. Most judges do not get the chance to know your family. A mediator listens, learns, and understands your family’s special situation and concerns.

  1. Avoids a judge dictating terms to you.

With the right Denver mediator, you will be able to control the discussion and determine the outcomes that will affect your life. You choose the issues to focus on, and you make the decisions. The court will not have the final say over the terms of the agreement – you will. With mediation, strangers will not decide the most personal issues of your life, including the care and custody of your children.

  1. It’s not about winning or losing.

Since mediation is a less adversarial process with a neutral mediator, it allows both sides to come to a mutually acceptable agreement where there is no winning or losing. Instead, the solutions are guided by problem-solving and looking at the desires of both sides.

  1. Allows for creative, personalized solutions.

All ideas and options can be discussed with the help of mediation. This allows for unique decisions that suit your marriage and your family instead of adhering to broad-reaching, even rigid court guidelines.

  1. Protects children from stress and conflict.

Coming to an agreement on child custody and visitation (now known here in Colorado as parental responsibilities) and financial responsibilities are one of the toughest issues during a divorce. Courts may require that your child(ren) be interviewed by a third party. This often creates more stress for the child(ren). Mediation keeps the needs of the children in focus without the ordeal of the courtroom process.

  1. Allows greater schedule flexibility.

With a court divorce, you are on their time. You are confined to procedures and overflowing dockets. At my practice, Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C., I’m able to work around your job commitments and family schedule. We can discuss meeting times that are convenient for you. I can often arrange for phone participation if needed.

  1. Provides both parties with faster resolution.

Mediation allows you to work on your own timeline for resolving the divorce issues. We can work quickly to help resolve your issues, allowing both parties to move on with their lives.

  1. Allows for stability after the divorce.

Last but certainly not least on our list of 10 great reasons to choose divorce mediation, is that the process of mediation opens the lines of communication and fosters a sense of understanding, even if it seems impossible at first. Once you succeed in taking this first step, the odds are high that you’ll be better able to resolve conflicts in the future, particularly when it comes to issues affecting your child(ren).

Why make your divorce harder than it has to be for both parties and your children? I hope that this list of 10 great reasons to choose divorce mediation has shown you that there can be a better way. To learn more about my practice, Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. in Denver, please get in touch.


Blogs and articles by Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. are for educational purposes only and to give you a general understanding of the law, not to provide any legal advice or be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed, professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction.

Use all blogs and articles at your own risk. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. These materials may be changed, improved, or updated without notice. Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this site or for damages arising from the use or performance of this site under any circumstances. By reading our blog and articles you also understand that there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C.

Modification of a Parenting Plan in Colorado

Modification of a Parenting Plan in ColoradoHere at my practice, Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C., I often help clients work through the modification of a parenting plan in Colorado. While many parents think, they can simply make an oral agreement or change, it’s often not considered legal by the courts. Here’s why – even after a divorce and custody (also known as parental responsibilities) case has been settled, jurisdiction over the child(ren) remains with the court until they’re 18 years of age.

So, if a change in circumstances requires modification of the original parenting plan, you must again seek approval from a family law judge to make it legal and protect your rights.

Making Changes to Parenting Time

To modify parenting time, the court will grant or deny most requests based on the “best interests” of the child. If the requested change substantially alters the schedule and changes the parent with whom the child primarily resides, a physical or mental “endangerment” standard will be considered (absent other circumstances). The preferences of a child who is older can also carry a lot of weight with the court when it comes to custody and parenting time /visitation.

Parenting time (previously known as “visitation”) is part of the allocation of parental responsibilities and covers:

    • Weekday/weekend schedule during the school year, including transportation
    • Summer schedule, including transportation and drop-off/pick-up arrangements
    • Holidays and special occasions (Christmas, Spring/Winter Break, birthdays, etc.)
    • Travel and vacation plans, out-of-state and overnight travel notifications

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities for Major Decision Making

Parental responsibilities also include the allocation of decision-making responsibility, which parents sometimes want to change. Decision-making addresses major life decisions for the children. This area includes determinations regarding the following issues and more:

  • Educational
  • Medical/dental/health (non-emergency)
  • Religious
  • Extracurricular and recreational activities

The law contains a list of situations in which modification of decision-making responsibility can happen. As with parenting time, if the parents agree, any modification of decision-making duties should be put in writing and filed with the court.

Relocation that Substantially Changes Geographic Ties

Relocation means that the children are moving away with one of the parents. Relocation requires a motion with the Court and permission unless both parties have submitted to the Court a written agreement/stipulation (with verified signatures of all parties) allowing one of the parties to relocate with the minor child(ren). Given the relocation, parents must also submit a new proposed parenting plan which addresses how the parties intend to address all the parenting issues.

What Else Does Modification of a Parenting Plan in Colorado Include?

There are a number of other issues that a parent may want to modify and both parents will subsequently need to agree on. These can include the right of first refusal, ground rules in parents’ homes, the establishment of driving privileges as children get older, etc.

As you can see, the modification of a parenting plan in Colorado can encompass a broad range of issues. Changes in time spent with the child(ren), decisions that affect the child(ren) and other matters can all quickly become points of contention.

Now, if you do not come to some mutual agreement, all decisions are left to the court to choose. Even if the parents think that they have an agreement on these issues, it should be put in writing and filed with the court to be enforceable. This written agreement also has to comply with Colorado law and contain certain language and provisions. That’s why I provide mediation services where I assist all parties in finding a resolution instead of going to court and having a judge dictate terms.

To find out how Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. can help you through the modification of a parenting plan in Colorado, please call or contact my office for more information.


Blogs and articles by Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. are for educational purposes only and to give you a general understanding of the law, not to provide any legal advice or be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed, professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction.

Use all blogs and articles at your own risk. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. These materials may be changed, improved, or updated without notice. Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this site or for damages arising from the use or performance of this site under any circumstances. By reading our blog and articles you also understand that there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C.

Basic Elements of Colorado Family Law

Colorado Family Law

The basic elements of Colorado family law include  marriage, divorce, custody, child support, property, and other financial affairs involving you and a spouse. They also encompass issues such as domestic violence and child welfare. At Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C., I try to educate parties about Colorado family law, as well as help them navigate their divorce using mediation to find mutually beneficial outcomes regarding each of these matters.  If you find that your marriage is ending, taking control of your future starts with learning more about Colorado family law.  Here is a brief summary of some of the  many areas that fall under this rather broad category.

  • Marriage – Colorado law dictates who can marry. For example, one requirement is that both parties must be 18 years of age and able to consent to the legal contract of marriage. Girls and boys who are 16 and 17 require parental approval. There are also laws in place to nullify unions in certain situations such as one party not being of sound mind or in cases of coercion and fraud.
  • Divorce – The dissolution of a marriage also falls under family law. There are numerous laws in place regarding procedures, filing requirements and costs, division of property and debt, along with spousal support (maintenance) and child custody/support. Did you know that Colorado is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state?
  • Child Custody – Now called parental responsibilities, the basics of Colorado family law include determining the best interests of your child or children, including how major decisions will be made (such as health care, religion and schooling), and what the parenting time schedule will be. This area of the law isn’t cut and dried, and taking your divorce  to court will mean that a judge has the final say.
  • Child Support – The goal of state statutes is to provide the same financial support that a child would receive if their parents were together. Strict, even complex rules and calculators are used to determine this amount. While parents can attempt to put together their own alternative agreement, the court may not approve anything that strays too far from the established amount. You should work with a professional who is familiar with the laws to ensure your submitted divorce documents are approved and finalized by the court.
  • Maintenance – Spousal support (which used to be called alimony) also falls under family law. This type of support assists spouses who cannot support themselves financially after the dissolution of the marriage. In 2014, a new law took effect which implemented advisory maintenance guidelines for the courts to consider in deciding maintenance. However, the court still has significant discretion in determining maintenance.

No matter where you are in the process of dissolving a marriage, being familiar with the basic elements  of Colorado family law will provide you with a better understanding of what needs to be addressed in your divorce. As a mediation practice focusing exclusively  in  family law and divorce mediation, Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C.  can provide further information and assistance throughout this very complicated and difficult process.