Mediation has gone from completely overlooked to mandatory for certain subjects in most of Illinois. In McHenry County, 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, delays the case by a couple of months, and, in some cases, can drive the parties farther apart. Generally, mediation is viewed as more helpful or else it is unlikely it would have been mandated.
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.