Did you know there are many types of mediation for divorce cases? The most common type of mediation is when each party and their attorney) meet with a mediator (a certified neutral third party trying to help obtain a settlement) to discuss what can possibly be worked out without going to court.
Mediation is always a good alternative for divorcing couples (or parties who are going through a custody battle), unless there are domestic violence issues (between the parties themselves or between a party and a child).
The pros of mediation are that the parties can reach an agreement right away where both sides are relatively satisfied (although rarely is either side completely satisfied) and the substantive litigation essentially ends. The cons of mediation are that either side may feel they could have obtained a better result at trial. When the case does not settle at mediation and proceeds to trial, lawyers often say that the parties are “rolling the dice” Trial is always a gamble, and no one really knows what the final outcome will be.
I recommend preparing for mediation as though you are going to trial. Many family law attorneys do not adequately prepare for mediation and end up forgoing their client’s rights to valuable assets or terms to which they would have been entitled. Lawyers must thoroughly review all discovery produced by the other side well in advance and determine what other information is needed to settle.