In Polk County Iowa all litigants in family court, which include divorcing couples and couples in the middle of paternity, custody and support cases, must submit to mediation (unless they are able to resolve their case prior to the mediation deadline). In outlying counties either party may request mediation. Luckily, in Iowa, there are many excellent and experienced family law mediators.
In divorce and other family law mediations, a neutral facilitator will help you and your spouse (significant other) discuss needs and wants. The goal is to reach a mutually acceptable agreement without going to trial. The process is confidential. The majority of time the mediator is an attorney; however, effective mediators have other diverse backgrounds as well.
I am a huge advocate of mediation for the following reasons: Mediation is usually less expensive than a trial, preferred by judges, more satisfactory to the parties and fosters higher compliance. Most importantly, it allows both parties to retain control over case outcome.