ED -- how does it play out specifically?

Still trying to get the ED and SA stuff straight. Thanks for your patience.
Do I have this right? (as follows)

–if the husband and wife work it out between them and they draw up a SA and both sign, then no ED request has to be processed or dealt with, right?
–and this is legal in such a way that it is a contract between parties but if one or the other defaults or doesn’t do what they agreed to in the agreement, then the other party has legal recourse to enforce the contract in some way–like can what? sue the other one for ‘breach of contract’–? Is that right? This seems like a very gray area and confusing.l
–However, if a SA terms cannot be reached or agreed upon then one party asks for ED by the courts. Correct so far?

So the judge, in that case, distributes the assets fairly. BUT this costs big $$ to even file for ED with a judge/ hearing. Is there a dollar amount general range that you could give for how much this usually costs when a person files it or asks for a judge to intervene (etc) without attorney involvement. I mean is it $100 to do this or $500 or what does it cost to have a judge deal with ED?

Now the final question. In the case of jointly owned property if it gets to a point where no SA is agreed upon and ED is requested by a judge, how likely is that handled by the court/judge? Could it result in a judge forcing the parties to liquidate the home and car? I mean, how is that usually handled? Can a judge order the home to be sold (short sale) and what does the court actually ‘do’ to carry this out if that 's the case. And in the case of an automobile that is jointly owned–if the couple cannot agree in a SA and asks for ED, can the judge order the car to be sold? So that neither parties end up with anything>? Except whatever the car and house can be sold for? How is that enforced? I just don’t “get” the process and how it actually plays out.

Can you perhaps give an an example of a case you know of and how things actually ‘got’ distributed in the case of a house and a car when a judge is involved with ED and how much you pay the court to do that approximately?

thanks so much

Yes, two parties can agree on their property distribution via a Separation Agreement. If the agreement deals with all martial property and debts and is signed before a notary public by each party, an ED case in court is not necessary. The SA is enforceable in that if one party is in breach the other can sue for breach of contract and the court will enforce the terms of the agreement.
Please contact our office for more information on potential fees for an ED case. I cannot predict how a judge would divide property in any one case.

I also believe that the parties are to go to “mandatory mediation” prior to it being heard before a judge (which I find ridiculous because in most cases, you’re paying $1000 or more for mediation only to have to go to court anyway).

Some counties require mediation, while others do not.