In accordance with Florida Statute 61.183,the Courts have the ability to send contested matters, such as equitable distribution, timesharing, etc. to mediation. Mediation is a place where both parties can work at reaching a settlement agreement. The parties and their attorneys present to a mediator (a neutral third party) that assists both sides in finding common ground and determining whether the contested issues can be resolved without the need for trial.
This process is helpful to the parties involved because it allows them to have a little more control over the outcome of their case than if they were to present their sides in trial and the Judge ultimately makes the final decision. Mediation is a great way for parties to also work through some matters that the Court is not required to hear (setting up college tuition for the children).
Another benefit to the mediation process is that the parties ultimately understand that the other is giving something up to help reach an agreement. This can be good for ongoing relationship building, especially when the parties have children together.
While this is generally a tactic used by the courts to limit the excessive trials they have, it is a tool that can also be utilized and agreed upon by the parties without the Court first ordering it.