If I Have to Pay for a Mediator, How is it Cheaper Than Negotiating Through the Court Process or Directly With My Spouse?

Mediation is often the quickest and most cost-effective way to settle your case for many reasons.  It forces all parties to come together and negotiate issues in real time.  The mediator is there to preserve decorum and fairness (e.g., no one is allowed to talk over each other, everyone gets time to express their point of view, etc.).  The mediator is also there to keep track of the proposals and ensures that there is no backtracking, which is often a frustrating part of negotiating if there is no third party to officiate the negotiations.