Because the mediator is a neutral third party whose role is to help the parties come to their own agreement, mediators cannot make decisions about the divorce on behalf of either spouse or help one spouse at the expense of the other. This includes giving legal advice during the mediation. Additionally, the mediator cannot require a spouse to take a specific action, like agree to a proposed solution or even be present at one of the mediation sessions, by placing sanctions or other penalties on the non-performing spouse.
These limitations gives the divorce mediation process its hard-earned reputation for flexibility and fairness. By having a mediator who can only facilitate, not dictate, how negotiations progress, mediation allows the spouses to develop their own solutions to their own unique situation.