In family law mediation, a  couple works with a neutral mediator who helps both parties come to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce or family law matter.  The mediator may or may not be a lawyer, but he/she must be extremely well-versed in family law.  Also, it is critical for the mediator to be neutral and not advocate for either party.  Both parties still need to consult with their own, individual attorneys during the mediation process and before signing any binding agreements.

Positives of mediation

  • Greater likelihood for a better long-term relationship with your ex since not adversarial.
  • Better for children since mediation may be more respectful than litigation.
  • Greater likelihood of expeditious resolution.
  • Greater likelihood for reducing financial costs.
  • More control because you are making the decisions (and the court isn't).
  • Confidential. Mediation is private; litigation is public (although divorce documents are confidential).

Negative of mediation

  • Could be a waste of time and money if no resolution is reached. 
  • Maybe unduly favorable to one spouse based on mediator's bias (especially if the mediator is inexperienced). 
  • The parties may agree on provisions that are not enforceable in court but may work well for the parties. 
  • Requires cooperation and good faith (or a master mediator). 
  • Requires ability to express interest and needs directly as opposed to the collaborative divorce process.