Mediation has gone from completely overlooked to mandatory for disputes involving children in divorce and parentage cases. In Illinois, if there is any dispute regarding what we used to call custody or visitation [now referred to as allocation of parenting time or allocation of parental responsibility], the parties must participate in a mandatory mediation–which should be for at least three sessions.
Where mediation is successful, it can save the litigants thousands in attorney fees. Where it is unsuccessful, it usually costs a relatively small amount compared to litigation, delaying the case by perhaps a couple of months. Even when not successful, there can be partial agreements as a result of mediation. Generally, mediation is helpful or else it is unlikely it would have been mandated state-wide.
Is it time to consider sending other issues to mediation? Financial mediation is possible, but would be much more complex. Just like mediation of non-financial issues, though, the chances for a successful financial mediation will be affected by the level of contentiousness and whether facts are generally disputed or accepted. Also, it is imperative that there be full and fair financial disclosure before mediation starts and to keep your lawyer informed as to the progress of financial mediation.