It sometimes does happen that couples who seek the help of a mediator discover that divorce is not necessarily the only solution.
Sometimes couples seek the help of a mediator when they feel that there is no other solution yet the very act of beginning the process of separating can be a wake up call to one or both of the parties that this may be the last opportunity to save the marriage. Once couples set aside some of the negative emotions that promote conflict in order to deal with the more practical issues surrounding separation and divorce, and begin working together in an amicable way, it sometimes becomes apparent to both parties that there may be some hope of rebuilding the marriage. At any point during the process the couple can make a determination to seek marriage counseling and to put the mediation process on hold. This is another reason why mediation is a smarter alternative to a litigated and contentious situation where parties tend to get more entrenched in their separate positions.
The mediation process focuses on parenting issues, other concerns about children, child support, maintenance and how to equitably divide assets and debts. For some couples these discussions can lead to feelings of regret about the dissolution of the family structure or practical concerns about the economics of living in two separate households with fewer resources. These concerns may motivate couples to seek another opportunity to work on the marriage. At this point a mediator can recommend an experienced marital and family therapist to help the couple. If reconciliation ultimately proves not to be possible the couple can resume mediation.