In my last post I wrote briefly about out of court settlements in Mississippi and their relation to family law issues. Settlements are frequently reached when the parties agree to participate in mediation. Mediation is an informal proceeding in which a mediator (a licensed, impartial third party) helps the parties to communicate and negotiate peacefully with one another, in addition to assisting the parties in understanding each other’s point of view. In short, they help open and facilitate a dialogue with the intent of reaching a settlement. A mediator is not a judge, he or she will not decide who is right or wrong, nor does he or she have the authority to force the parties to settle. Even after the parties have completed mediation, the decision of whether or not to settle their Mississippi divorce or custody case is entirely theirs to make. And, assuming that the parties agree to resolve their disputes following mediation, that agreement is non-binding until and unless the court orders such.