Having your divorce settle prior to trial can be a great thing. Settlements are possible at any point while a case is pending but sometimes one or both parties have an idea about what they think they are entitled to and refuse to budge. Getting a divorce ready to go to trial can be expensive. Attorneys generally try to find options to settle a case as it proceeds toward the trial date. However, when that doesn’t work a good alternative to going to trial can be mediation.
Mediation can be conducted by court order or by agreement of the parties. It is nonbinding (at least until a settlement is reached) and takes place outside of the courthouse, generally at the mediator’s office. A mediator is simply a lawyer skilled in handling divorce cases who attempts to help parties figure out a suitable way to settle their divorce. The process of conducting a mediation is non-confrontational and takes place in the relatively casual atmosphere of an office rather than a courtroom. The parties are usually in separate rooms during the entire process. If you are not able to settle your case everything that you have said to the mediator is confidential unless you specifically authorize the mediator to tell the other side.