Gibby, I have just seen your thread in which you asked several questions:
1) Does mediation really work? Yes, it does, but much depends on the people involved. If the husband and wife are not prepared to listen to the other side, are not prepared to compromise if necessary, and shout and scream at each other, then it won't work. Similarly, if the mediator is not strong enough to keep control or allows one side to bulldoze the other, then the other side will pull out of the mediation and so it won't work then either.
I have had two cases that have failed because the parties would not move or compromise, because they were both convinced that their position was right. As it happens, I bumped into one of the wives a few days ago and I asked what had happened. They fought it out via lawyers, ended up at court, reached a settlement that was pretty much what had (almost) been agreed in mediation and she had had a legal bill of £20,000; her husband's bill was probably much the same. There is a lesson there.
2) Is it useful?- Yes, it is. It is usually cheaper, quicker and less aggressive than the traditional route to divorce. Also, you have a real say in the final outcome, rather than allowing a judge to make the decisions for you - which may or may not go in your favour.
3) Are mediators actually qualified professionals? - mediation is not a regualted profession, so there must be some mediators who are not qualified. However there are others that are highly qualified. I happen to be a Chartered Accountant and I work with a Barrister who used to pracise family law. There are solicitors that act as mediators - and so on. It is probably more important for a mediator to be knowledgible, effective and experienced (in order to take into account potential future problems) than to have a string of qualifications, nevertheless I believe they help.