If you and your spouse are unable to agree to an informal arrangement initially, then you are typically required to attend a formal mediation session. This session is typically several hours long and is usually run by a professional mediator. You and your spouse are allowed to bring your attorneys to this session as well, which will help you make sure that you are remembering all of the important details that should be discussed during the session. This session is often recorded by a court reporter so that each party can use notes from the meeting to finalize a custody plan.
In most cases the parties are able to reach an agreement at the mediation stage. Mediation is an option both at the start of the divorce proceeding, as well as at any time during the process if the parties or judge feel that would it be beneficial.