Lets see mediation.
Originally my ex was moving out and her attorney and mine wanted to get the parenting agreement done, first, we mediated in the same room, got pretty emotional at times, but i think in the end we were pretty reasonable, the mediator was really good at cooling things down. We did get an agreement, at first she wanted 80% and me 20%, in the end we got a 50/50 with the agreement that neither was primary, and if we counldnt agree on something we agreed to go back into mediation, so far in 8 years weve only come close to that one time, I like this setup, cause it doesnt give either parent the upper hand in children and decisions.
We mediated 3 times in seperate rooms over the financials, we didnt really get and agreement from this, but it did provide me with the knowledge of things that were important to her, such as health insurance, I remember them wanting me to pay around $2000 per month for 5 years, when I got done I found out that our current insurance would just write her a policy for around $480 a month, so I agreed to provide insurance for 5 years, Ive got a couple of years to go, it has gone up to $520 a month but way better than 2 grand a month.
Originally she wanted lifetime alimony, but after going thru mediation, both mediators just told her she probably wouldnt get that because she had worked and maintained her CPA practice and license thru out the marriage, so in the end no alimony.
We had quite a few assetts to devide, when you look at this stuff in one big lump its overwhelming, what I did was go piece by piece thru what we had and we did come to some basic understanding who was entitled to what thru all of that. I couldnt borrow enough money to make it all happen, so we compromised and I agree to let her finance our business interest, and the things in the house, over a 7 yr period, with 4% interest.
We actually settled in the courtroom hallway before court was too start, I gave in and added $15,000 to pay on her attorney fees at the last minute to seal the deal.
Mediation gave me time to figure out a way to work it all out, its just a big jigsaw puzzle that had to be taken one piece at a time, to structure payment and things to suit her, and also in a way that I could afford.
I honestly hated mediation, and it cost a fortune for us, but without I dont think we would have gotten to an agreement.
I think you have to decide what you are not willing to give up, before you go in, and make sure you have some things that you can compromise on in mediation in order to keeep things rolling, otherwise to me there is no point in going thru all of that, just go straight to court.
Good Luck, I would advise against signing anything in mediation, first you need to get a n agreement in principle, and then you need some time to really think thru it, dont be pressured into settleing, until you are comfortable with what you are doing, plus make sure you really look financially at whether you can afford to do what you are agreeing too, I have one buddy who just wanted to get it over with and agreeed to everything and he regretted if for a long time, he gave in way too much in my opinion.