A neutral third party, trained in special mediation techniques, will meet with the parties together and try to resolve their disputes. A mediator does not represent either party. The mediator will guide the discussions, explore and offer options, explain the law, and facilitate an agreement.
Mediation sessions are usually two or three hours long in the mediator's office or conference room. The first meeting may be an orientation and the second meeting might be an exchange of financial information.
Once you have reached an agreement, it will not be final or binding until it is in writing and signed by both parties. In mediation you are not required to sign the agreement if you do not like it. The mediator will probably recommend that you have a lawyer review the agreement before you sign. Once you do sign, the agreement will be binding and can be enforced by the court.
Both parties must agree to mediation. Mediation is less costly than a trial and the parties can control the outcome rather than a judge. It is also faster than litigation.
The court may require mediation or you can hire your own private mediator.