Is Mediation Mandatory for Divorce in Illinois?

Updated on June 26, 2023
Updated: June 6, 2023

Is mediation mandatory for divorce in the state of Illinois? Mediation sessions are suggested by the court system in Illinois to peacefully resolve conflicts between divorcing couples. It's voluntary and requires agreement from both parties. The divorce mediation process can help reach agreements on alimony, parenting plans, and property division without a trial. If no agreement through mediation is reached, either party can request the court make a ruling.

Child custody mediation is an effective collaborative divorce option to avoid costly circuit court trials and maintain communication about parental responsibilities and visitation issues. Family mediators facilitate communication to reach agreements on alimony, custody, parenting issues, and property division.

At Tommalieh Law we provide legal services for family law and divorce cases through their experienced Orland Park divorce attorneys and private mediation agreements.

Why You Might Be Required to Go Through Mediation for a Divorce

So what is divorce mediation? Mediation is a popular option for divorcing couples in Illinois. It's required for those seeking a settlement without a court hearing. Mediation resolves disputes through discussion and agreement, avoiding a lengthy and costly trial. The mediator guides the process and encourages open communication about individual needs. Mediation allows both parties the opportunity for negotiation, instead of relying on a judge's decision.

The court may order mandatory mediation with a divorce mediator in cases involving child custody disputes, complex financial issues, or marital assets. If a resolution cannot be achieved during the initial case management conference, mediation will be necessary.

paper cut outs of a couple arguing with a mediator in between them

In the initial consultation, the primary role of the mediator is to explain how mediation functions and will address any inquiries. Mediation provides a confidential space for open communication, alleviating some stress of divorce. It gives each party a chance to explain their position and negotiate an outcome that meets their individual needs.

Successful mediation can also provide psychological benefits by helping couples maintain open communication and better understand each other's perspectives during the divorce agreement.

When Is Mediation Not Mandatory?

Most divorcing couples are initially sent to a family law court-ordered mediation process as mediation is typically mandatory in the majority of divorce cases and required by law. The purpose of a comprehensive mediation process is to allow both spouses to work together on divorce in an equitable agreement that meets the needs of both parties. The family mediation process will enable couples to create their agreement without a judge making decisions for them, thus minimizing stress levels and court costs associated with litigation.

Learn More: Check Out These Divorce Mediation Statistics from!

There are situations where impediments to mediation exist and mediation may not be appropriate due to factors such as the threat of violence, protective services, alcohol abuse, bodily injury due to domestic violence, or mental incapacity. In such cases, couples may be exempt from mandatory mediation programs and can go directly to court.

If a couple cannot agree to mediation, and they consider it a waste of time they can choose to go before a judge. If one spouse refuses to compromise on issues during the actual mediation process either party can take the case to court. It is up to the Illinois court system to decide if mandated mediation is required for divorce proceedings.

Voluntary Mediation Vs. Court Ordered Mediation

Voluntary mediation proceedings involve a neutral third party who helps two disputing parties reach agreeable solutions about family law issues. Participation is optional and parties may be excused for certain reasons. A mediation-led dispute resolution process aims to encourage communication and reach an amicable resolution and avoid a divorce litigation process. The opposing party can choose to accept or decline the resolution.

a couple who are going through divorce discussing things with a mediator

Court-ordered mediation occurs when a court orders both sides of a legal dispute to engage in negotiation. This process helps participants understand the context of outstanding issues and encourages dialogue to reach an agreeable resolution. Through this form of mediation, parties can come together and reach mutual decisions about personal matters, child custody matters, marital property, and custody arrangements. The mediator’s role is to facilitate discussion and judge progress toward the resolution of family issues.

If progress is not made during mediation in family law, further action may be taken to proceed with resolution.

What Benefits Can Be Gained From Using Divorce Mediation?

Mediation offers many advantages over litigation when families are deciding on issues. Instead of a “win” or “lose” outcome determined by the court, mediated agreements can create a custom resolution that is more sensitive to each party's needs. This often leads to a higher rate of compliance since the agreement was negotiated and reached by them directly. In addition, any agreement made during mediation is less likely to be re-litigated by either party at a later date.

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Divorce Mediation

Mediation has many benefits in that families have more control over their future. The cost of mediation is more efficient and cost-effective than court proceedings. If parties reach an agreement, their relationship is preserved.

Mediated terms are confidential, while court documents become public records. Overall, mediation is convenient and advantageous for families who want a peaceful resolution without going through the court system.

Can My Spouse and I Still Use Mediation if It Isn't Required?

In Illinois, mediation is optional in divorce proceedings. However, it is highly recommended. Many couples can resolve issues through mediation and reach common ground quicker than in traditional court proceedings. Mediation services can save time and money, as well as offer a non-adversarial setting for couples to discuss issues of child custody and parenting time.

Mediation is a practical solution for couples in Illinois who desire a quicker and more cost-effective way to dissolve their marriage. Mediation provides advantages such as expedited resolution, increased influence over the outcome, and open communication without the stress of court proceedings. Confidentiality provisions are included and all agreements reached through mediation are kept confidential.

Can We Try to Negotiate the Terms of Our Divorce Before Paying a Mediator?

Divorce mediation is not mandatory in Illinois. However, many couples find it helpful to reach a peaceful resolution. A neutral mediator helps both parties negotiate the terms of their divorce. The mediator's role is to facilitate the process, not make decisions.

a lawyer mediating between a couple, is mediation mandatory for divorce

If the couple decides to negotiate without a mediator, both parties must be willing to compromise and be open to negotiation. It's also helpful to have detailed financial information and other relevant issues to ensure both parties are on the same page.

Call Tommalieh Law Today About Your Divorce Mediation!

Are you considering filing for divorce in Illinois and want to learn more about mediation? Mediation is an important part of the divorce process but it isn’t mandatory in all cases. At Tommalieh Law, we can help guide you through the decision-making process.

No matter what your situation is, we are here to help you make the best decision for your divorce. Contact Tommalieh Law today to learn more about mediation in Illinois. We offer 100% FREE consultations here and will do everything we can to help you during this stressful time. Call today at 708-232-0017 to get started!

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