As a family law mediator, I do not make any decisions with regard to a case. I do, however, assist the parties in compromising their set positions, in order to arrive at a settlement that they can live with at the end of the day. My approach to mediation is to get it done as efficiently as possible. To do that, I remind the parties that since I do not make any binding decisions like a judge would do, I might not need to hear all of the minute details that would be brought forth in a courtroom. By arriving at a settlement, it likely will reduce the financial cost for each party of future litigation, and it will definitely reduce the emotional toll it will take to litigate against each other.
I have been mediating cases since 2003. Currently, I charge $200/hour for mediation services (but also do modest means mediations from time to time). On the day of mediation, I request each party to pay a retainer of 2 hours ($400).