Mediation is when you attempt to work something out prior to your final hearing and enter into a written agreement whereby you decide the distribution of assets and liabilties, timesharing with the children, tax exemptions, etc., A General Magistrate is a type of judge who hears and decides issues of the case. A judge will divorce you, not the General Magistrate.
The General Master reports to the Judge and much like the Judge can rule on matters. They generally take over the routine issues to lessen the load of the presiding Judge. A mediator on the other hand is a neutral party that cannot make a decision nor force you to settle a case. The mediator can facilitate the case and with the aid of the mediator, you might have a good chance of settling your case on your terms and conditions (albeit a compromised settlement).
In mediation, you control your destiny. Going in front of a General Master or Judge, your destiny is taken away from you.
They both have different, important roles in the court system. As a mediator, i would always suggest trying mediation. You have little to lose and in mediation, you might learn things that you didn't know going it. And, if you don't watch out, you might just settle the case!!
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