In some counties, San Diego included, the court sets automatic status conference hearings to try to keep tabs on the progress of each case.
A "Family Resolution Conference" or "FRC" is what they are called.
The first one is set when the case is filed and is typically scheduled about 6 months from the filing date. This typically gives ample time to take care of the financial disclosures, work out the terms of the agreement, and submit a judgment to the court.
If this is done relatively quickly, an appearance at the FRC can usually be avoided, but depending on the timing and how the judge in the department where your case is assigned, it may be necessary for someone to attend the FRC.
Technically, the court requires all parties and their attorneys (if represented) to attend each FRC, but in mediation cases, if an appearance is necessary, usually only one of the parties or the mediator (Michael) need attend in order to let the court know the status of the case.
Michael does charge a flat fee of $300 if he attends an FRC, but this can usually be avoided.