Most people manage to resolve their differences with neighbours, partners, family members and so on without recourse to professional help, and even after taking professional advice they reach settlement through negotiation. It’s only the really intractable problems that call for outside help from a mediator; which is why it’s important to choose your mediator carefully for the difficult issues. You need the assurance that your mediator not only understands the problem (and has maybe seen similar ones many times before) but is tough enough, imaginative and resourceful enough to help you and the other side to look at every possible route to a settlement and to help you “pressure test” the options you are considering so that you can have the confidence to know that the proposal finally adopted will be robust and enforceable. So don’t be afraid of asking your short list of mediators for references and ask them about their experience, mediation style and so on. No mediator worth their salt will mind being contacted by you or your lawyer for a preliminary chat along these lines; and it could make all the difference to your experience of the mediation itself.