In this article...

In this article we will be providing a brief overview of Mediation as well as discussing any 2021 updates to Collaborative Divorce in Illinois, which includes addressing the topics of:

  • What is Mediation?
  • Is Mediation Mandatory in a Divorce Case?
  • Is Divorce Mediation helpful?
  • Is There Mediation for Issues Related to Parenting Time?
  • Child Support Mediation?
  • Can Anyone be a Mediator?
  • How to Choose a Mediator?
  • Can I Switch Mediators?
  • Is Mediation Binding?
  • Mediation Updates for 2021

In this article we will be providing a brief overview of Mediation as well as discussing any 2021 updates to Collaborative Divorce in Illinois, which includes addressing the topics of:

  • What is Mediation?
  • Is Mediation Mandatory in a Divorce Case?
  • Is Divorce Mediation helpful?
  • Is There Mediation forIssues Related to Parenting Time?
  • Child Support Mediation?
  • Can Anyone be a Mediator?
  • How to Choose a Mediator?
  • Can I Switch Mediators?
  • Is Mediation Binding?
  • Mediation Updates for 2021

 

This article is intended to be an overview on the current expectations and standards in the Illinois Mediation process and its applications. For a more in depth look at some of these areas of law, please follow the links contained throughout this article.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process which allows the parties in a domestic relation or family law case to attempt to settle their case without judicial intervention. This is generally the last step the parties take before they need the Court to begin to make decisions as it relates to their divorce, finances, and parenting issues. The process involves a certified neutral party who attempts to assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution to any pending issues. Fora detailed look at the mediation process, please consult our other article Illinois Family Mediation Explained.

Is Mediation Mandatory in a Divorce Case?

Each county has specific rules as it relates to mediation and whether it is required to proceed in a divorce situation. As a general rule, if there are minor children in a divorce case, the Court does require mediation if there is not a parenting agreement entered close to the beginning of the case, usually within90 days of filing the case. To determine if your case will have mandatory mediation, you should consult the local court rules. To learn more about what you may experience during mediation, please consult our article Illinois Divorce and Child Custody Mediation Explained.

Is Divorce Mediation helpful?

Mediation can be a very helpful tool in domestic relations cases. Mediation allows for the parties to negotiate between themselves to attempt to reach a resolution to their issues. In some situations, while a full settlement cannot be reached, the parties are able to narrow the contested issues between them. Any issues that can be agreed upon in mediation can go a long way to saving on both time and expense as your case moves through the legal system.

Is There Mediation for Issues Related to Parenting Time?

Yes.In most counties, parties are required to attend mediation when there are issues related to parenting time or allocation of parental responsibilities.Often, parenting issues arise due to a lack of communication or understanding. Parenting time mediation is often required before the Court will enter or modify an order related to parenting issues.

Child Support Mediation

Child support is generally not something that is specifically addressed in mediation.Child support is controlled by statute and is generally not something that is open for much negotiation. Upon good cause, the Court may choose to deviate from the statutory support guidelines, but the parties can generally not make such alterations on their own. To learn more about child support in Illinois, please read our article on Illinois Child Support Law Explained.

Can Anyone be a Mediator?

No. Mediators are trained and certified by the specific county which they practice in. Each mediator must complete the county training course and gain approval from the court to be placed on their mediators list. Once that approval is made, the individual may begin practicing as a mediator and accepting appointments from the Court.

How to Choose a Mediator?

Mediators can either be appointed by the Court or by agreement of the parties. Each mediator is going to have their own approach and style but should be neutral in their positions. Generally, before agreeing to a mediator, you should ensure the rate which that mediator will be charging as you are responsible for at least a portion of the cost of the mediator in most situations.

Can I Switch Mediators?

NotUsually. Once mediation begins you will need to see the process through with the individual that was appointed or chosen for your case. Ultimately, the mediator is someone that is supposed to assist in facilitating an agreement between the parties and is not a decision maker in your case. They can provide guidance towards an agreement but should you be unhappy with the mediator or their recommendations you can choose to proceed to the next steps of the litigation process.

Is Mediation Binding?

No, unless you have agreed to a binding mediation. A general mediation recommendation is not a final disposition unless both parties agree with the recommendation.If the parties are in agreement, the mediation recommendation can be formatted and entered as a marital settlement agreement. To learn more about the mediation process, please review our article Illinois Divorce Mediation Explained.

Mediation Updates for 2021

The primary update for mediation is the frequency which it is being deployed. Mediation is now required in many counties. Additionally, mediation agreements are now very common to find in final judgment orders which require parties to attend mediation prior to seeking any modification to their allocation arrangements.

 

 

Posted 
April 1, 2021
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