Mediation is less formal than arbitration. A mediator is often a lawyer or judge, the idea is for the parties to come to an agreement between themselves. Unlike an arbitrator, a mediator will not make a binding decision but will act as a go-between for the parties and try to get them to reach a compromise. Also, often the parties will be in separate rooms and they will be able to share their own thoughts and opinions about the case openly and honestly with the mediator. For instance, Sharon and Ahmed have a child together but have recently divorced and cannot agree on dates and times for contact.