How Illinois Family Law Mediation Works

Thousands of family law cases are filed in the Illinois court system every month. However, most of these cases will never go all the way to a trial. Most will be settled. One of the most powerful tools for settling family law disputes is mediation.

Mandatory Mediation

When couples have a parenting time or allocation of parental responsibilities dispute, a judge may order the couple to go through mediation to try and come up with an agreement. Even if there are other issues in the case, such as spousal maintenance or property division, the mandatory mediation is usually only required for the issues involving the children. A mediator cannot force a couple to come to an agreement. Still, it is often in a couple’s best interest to resolve parenting issues in mediation.

Optional Mediation

Mediation can be used to resolve almost any family law issue. Even if mediation is not mandatory, many couples find that mediation is helpful in bringing a case to a satisfying conclusion. Mediation can be used at any point during a family law case.

Mediation offers couples the chance to figure out a solution that works for them without having a judge impose something on them. It also allows a couple to resolve their differences in private, instead of in a public courtroom. In many situations a case resolved in mediation will cost a couple less in attorney fees and court costs than a full trial.

Mediation Mechanics

Every mediator has his or her own style. Most mediators ask both sides to submit a confidential brief or statement explaining how they see the case before the mediation. The mediator will often speak to both sides together briefly at the start of mediation. After that, each side will sit with his or her lawyer in separate rooms.

The mediator will go between the two rooms trying to help the couple reach an agreement on as many issues as possible. There will often be several offers and counteroffers. If a mediator is an experienced family law lawyer or retired judge, the mediator may help the process by showing each side the weaknesses in his or her case and helping him or her understand the risks of going through with a trial.

If you have questions about mediation, or any other family law issue, contact a skilled and knowledgeable DuPage County family law attorney right away. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation.