At any time during (or before) the divorce process, you may (and should!) attempt to settle the matter out of court.
A “Round Table” meeting is where all the parties get together to attempt to settle the matter or as many of the issues in dispute as possible. It is basically a negotiation between the parties. The content of such talks, to the extent that it represents an attempt in good faith to settle the matter, is ‘priviliged’. This means that it cannot be used directly in court ( whatever information you give the opposing party they will of course still have after the meeting, but neither of you are allowed to say in court what concessions or settlement offer either of the parties made if the matter is not settled). The reason for the privilige is to allow the parties to speak freely and give their best attempt to settle the matter out of court. Should the matter be settled at the meeting, the attorneys will draft a settlement agreement, which the parties will sign. Afterwards, this agreement will be taken to court to be incorporated into the court order.
Mediation is a process where a neutral third party is appointed (the “mediator”) to assist the parties in trying to reach a settlement agreement. The mediator controls the process as agreed upon by the parties, but does not make any determinations as to the content. The mediator basically just facilitates the negotiation process between the parties, and has now binding authority or power on the parties – any party can leave the mediation (just like a negotiation) at any time.
If a mediation is successful or partly successful (the parties agreed on only some of the issues but will still fight about some others in court), the agreements will be reduced to writing and taken to the Court, exactly as when a settlement was reached through negotiations.