Mediating rather than litigating your divorce can be both financially and emotionally beneficial. A mediator is not an alternative to a divorce lawyer but is a great potential asset for those who would like to settle their divorce using a more collaborative method than the courtroom. Mediation is a good choice for those who aim to minimize conflict and speed up resolution.
This being said, mediation is something both parties must agree to and is only effective if both parties approach the mediation with the desire to find workable solutions. If you cannot imagine having a conversation with your ex spouse in a civil and productive manner, mediation is maybe not for you (though most family law mediation does not involve communication with your spouse during the mediation, usually the mediator goes back and forth to each room). Mediation is a great way to avoid putting your children through a contentious court battle. If you or your ex spouse have been involved in a Child Protective Services investigation, it is likely that court involvement will be needed.
It is important to think about your priorities before you decide to mediate your divorce and especially before you enter a mediation session. What are the issues or assets most important to you? It is important to recognize what things you feel strongly about and which things you are willing to make greater concessions on. If you have strong opinions on where to send your children to school, but you know your ex spouse vehemently opposes your choice, you need to understand what your rights are and how to proceed if the mediation does not resolve the issue. You should consult your attorney before you enter any mediation session to ensure that you are fully apprised of your rights.