Mediation is process whereby a trained professional facilitates a negotiation of the issues.
Parties must jointly select a mediator together.
The parties can decide to attend mediation either with or without their lawyers.
Ultimately, each spouse should have legal guidance outside of mediation.
Even if the mediator is a licensed lawyer, the mediator may not and must not give legal advice.
Costs are also managed by jointly paying the mediator's fee.
The parties remain in charge of the process – there is no decision-maker.
Sometimes more than one specialized mediator is retained, e.g., one mediator to deal with parenting, and one mediator to deal with dividing/equalizing property.
The usual objective is to reach a legally binding contract called a separation agreement.
The parties have control of the process and outcomes: there is no decision-maker.
Greater flexibility in reaching outcomes and agreements for the benefit of both spouses than in a court process.
Faster than having the dispute decided at a trial.
Dispute is handled privately.
Either party can retreat from the process at any stage prior to signature of the contract, without consequences.