In family law, once you file your petition for divorce, you must wait 60 days. Within those 60 days, if you are not able to agree on a settlement or come to a settlement on property, child support, dividing the debts, etc., in most instances, the court is going to order you a mediation.
A mediation is a process by which both parties, along with their attorneys, sit down with a neutral third party, who oftentimes is a lawyer, and in some instances can be a former judge, who will then mediate the case. That person will go back and forth between the parties and their attorneys, and see if they can't work out some of the disputes that have occurred with regards to property settlements, child support, custody of the kids, etc. Mediation is a vehicle the court system has put in place to try and resolve cases outside of the courts. As you know, the courts are inundated with cases constantly, and there are backlogs because there are so many divorce cases and litigation cases. So, they send you to the mediation process to help you resolve your disputes.
In most instances, the disputes are resolved. Very seldom will you have a divorce case that will go to trial. Only 5%-10% of all divorce cases become full-blown trials. Resolving disputes during this mediation process is very cost-effective. If you go to trial and start the litigation process through discovery, depositions, etc., your case can be fifty to sixty thousand dollars and in some instances, well over a hundred thousand dollars, just to get a divorce.
Find out more information on mediation in our article, Using Mediation in a Divorce.