The mediation process is actually quite simple, especially when contrasted with the litigation process. Initially, people with disputes agree to mediate, find a mediator, and schedule a mediation. Mediation usually takes place within only a few weeks of initial contact with the mediator. The mediator will usually ask for short typed summaries of the dispute and what exactly each party wants to accomplish during mediation. (If litigation has already begun, the mediator will likely ask for court documents that explain the dispute.) During mediation, each party will tell the mediator about the dispute from their point of view. The mediator will then ask the parties to identify the issues in dispute that need to be resolved. From this point, the mediator will help the parties openly negotiate until each of the issues in dispute is resolved in a way that (1) is acceptable to the parties, and (2) is mutually beneficial.
Once a mediated agreement has been reached, the mediator writes the agreement, and the parties review and sign it. When signed, the agreement becomes a contract and is enforceable in court. (If the mediated agreement is in the context of a parties seeking a divorce, the agreement can serve as the basis for a Decree of Divorce.)