Mediation, where a third party, the mediator tries to negotiate an agreement, is required in almost all divorce and custody cases. The mediator in divorce and custody cases is usually an attorney, but, they cannot represent either side or give either side legal advice when they are working as a mediator. It is easy to think of mediation as an easy time, friendly sit down to try to work things out. It is not, everything is on the table at mediation, your kids, everything you own if you are getting divorced. Mediation can be a great way to get a case wrapped up, but you need to be prepared. Before any mediation it is important to have good lists of everything that is being divided up, I prepare spreadsheets listing all debts and assets. For custody, you need to know what you want and how to get it. Before mediation line up all evidence that supports your case for custody so that you can use it to encourage the other side to compromise in your favor. A successful mediation often takes all day, do your homework before mediation, and, be prepared for a marathon to get things settled.