Mediation is assisted settlement negotiations. Mediators don’t take sides and are used for the sole purpose of assisting parties in a divorce or child custody dispute in reaching a settlement agreement.
A mediator’s role is not to give the parties legal advice. A mediator’s role is to engage the parties in “Risk Assessment”; whether or not to surrender the disputed issue to a Judge in a court of law for a decision or whether to find a compromise that allows the parties to retain control of the outcome of their dispute.
Mediation is generally part of the litigation process. In most Courts, the parties are required to try to settle their case through mediation before they go to court for trial.
A mediator is neutral and can offer parities a different, unbiased perspective. Also, having both clients, both lawyers and a mediator in the same place at the same time with everyone’s attention focused on getting a settlement can often create a positive environment for reaching agreements.
If at all possible, when selecting a mediator, that mediator should have formal training as a mediator with a particular focus on family law mediation.