Many people do not want their personal lives brought in the public forum of the court and a litigation setting.
You and your spouse are the best people to decide these very important issues for your family. Your judge only gets a snapshot of you, your family and your specific needs. Every judge, no matter how hard they work and how fair they try to be, comes with their own biases and personal experiences. Mediation is a better option.
At the end of the day, your marriage is coming to an end and it is an emotional experience. Mediation allows both parties to have an input on how all the issues are decided and to express emotion during the process.
Sometimes a situation requires creative thinking and solutions that will work for your family. Generally speaking, the courts are reluctant to order these creative solutions and make decisions based on what makes sense to them.
Mediation is generally a much less expensive approach than litigation. Remember that your marital estate should be used for the support of your family. The more you spend during the divorce process, the less you and your family will have in the end.
You and your spouse can still have the benefit of your attorneys during the mediation process to advise you and guide you toward a settlement.