Mediation is an informal process in which a third party mediator facilitates settlement discussions between parties. Any settlement is voluntary. In the absence of settlement the parties lose none of their rights to trial.
A mediator is a neutral person who acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute. The mediator does not decide the issues in controversy or impose settlement.
In the usual case, a pre-mediation discussion takes place, in which payments arrangements are discussed and the mediator advises the parties as to what documents are necessary to be reviewed either at, or before the mediation.
Mediation can be scheduled by the parties themselves or mediation may be court ordered as a part of a lawsuit.