The primary advantage of using an attorney (particularly an experienced family law attorney) is that they are qualified to explain how family law works in California and provide reference points for settlement purposes.
This depends a great deal on the participants, particularly how quickly the information can be provided to the mediator for the completion of the court-mandated financial disclosures and how quickly the participants can work out an agreement.
Well over ninety percent of divorce cases in California reach an agreement and settle without going to trial. The big question is when? Does it take tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars to prepare for trial, then settle right before it, or do parties take a more reasonable and rational route and commit to working through the terms of their settlement early on and save themselves all the grief and expense?