Divorce mediation is voluntary. Some counties offer referrals to mediation if a family law matter is set for hearing. The first session may be at no charge.
Mediation involves direct negotiation between the parties to the divorce — though each may be represented by consulting attorneys. In a divorce action, typically the issues which need to be negotiated are child custody and visitation, division of marital property, child support, and spousal support or alimony. The mediator may be assisting with one or more, or all of these items.
Information divulged during mediation settlement negotiations is confidential. Divorce settlement negotiations often are protected by law as confidential and may not be introduced in court if negotiations break down. Privately hired mediators may be covered by state legislation making information disclosed in mediation confidential or may require that their clients sign a confidentiality agreement so that disclosures or compromises made in mediation may not be used later in litigation against the party.