This should be quite easy to describe because basically both of these words are not usually interchangeable... Most actual mediators who are attorneys, prefer to do settlement workouts and will often operate a mediation practice whereby those wanting to work out things mutually may sometimes actually do that?
While it is true that some cases can easily be mediated IF both parties understand what is actually going on and fully agree-- attorney herein has seen many cases where parties thought they knew what they were getting but in fact they didn't understand what they got? This is not that surprising.
Mediation for divorce can be very difficult when there are huge problems in any given area, such as psychological,mental,emotional or difficult issues involving drinking, drugs, criminal charges or civil law issues with lawsuits, inheritances, bankruptcy, faulty IRS filings, taxes and liens, tracing of separate property, sales of property, unknown hidden assets, domestic violence restraining orders, civil lawsuits, reimbursements known and unknown, hidden assets to family and online accounts unknown; illegitimate children,and more.
Nearly all of these potential issues will typically not be mediated away for the most part.
Once domestic violence enters the picture it is possible that this will come back to haunt the one accused; Most domestic violence cases should be carefully checked for errant, wrongful or outright lies. Some parents will get children to lie or give false statements. Or it could be lying friends.
Those will be the most difficult cases in attorney's opinion. Nearly all cases in this boat will likely require litigation, if only to salvage the truth.
If you have any doubt about giving up your rights, preserving your rights, understanding your rights, it is likely a mediator may not be the best choice for you. Trying to salvage a case by agreeing to things that should not be done or required is silly. No one should force clients to do something that may not be appropriate; when it comes to litigation, sometimes we do have to make difficult decisions. But mediation does not work when both parties don't agree. And in most difficult cases, mediation is simply inappropriate. For high stake cases involving large sums of finances, and much property, it is best to normally hire attorneys that work mostly on high stake cases involving a lot of financial dealings, as they are best suited for tax purposes, and in working with tax accountants. Much of the processing is accountant related, tax related, etc.