In the family law context, mediation is not the same as settlement. In the settlement context, the parties and their lawyers typically caucus, with each lawyer talking to their own client in separate rooms. Typically there is not direct communication between the parties and if there is, the communication is typically filtered by the lawyers.
In private family mediation, the clients typically meet face to face, with their lawyers, who act as legal consultants. As trained mediators, after first taking into account the emotional dynamics, we attempt to facilitate a settlement of the outstanding legal issues involving the clients. As part of the mediation, we also attempt to lay the groundwork for post-divorce cooperation and co-parenting if the parties have children together. The goal of any good mediator is to explore all possible solutions and promote understanding between the parties.