You may have seen the news that Mark Sanford and his wife are attending mediation to help resolve their marital issues. Why choose mediation? For many couples, it can be a more humane, empowering and lower cost way to resolve their differences. That is not to say that mediation is cheap, particularly since it can take multiple sessions, but is far less expensive than a fully-litigated divorce and custody matter.
Mediators have different styles; some will make suggestions for your situation, and others are more passive, allowing the spouses to drive the mediation at their own pace. Some mediators prefer for attorneys to attend and some do not. Also be aware that there are not specific educational or certificate requirements to be a "mediator." You may need a mediator with a strong understanding in tax issues, or business interests. As you speak with various mediators, you may want to ask or read their bio to ascertain person's qualifications.
It is also possible to work with an attorney while you are mediating, and you may want your attorney to attend mediation with you for some or all sessions. Your attorney can also assist you in selecting a mediator that will fit your goals. If you reach an agreement in mediation, you will definitely want to discuss it with an attorney before signing.