Mandatory mediation is a term that Illinois residents are likely to have heard during a discussion about divorce. It simply means that a court has mandated a mediation process to resolve disputes and arrive at a marital settlement agreement. While some professionals disagree with the use of mandatory mediation, others believe it is beneficial in achieving a resolution while saving money and resources.
For example, one divorce expert explained in an article that he opposes mandatory mediation and feels it's a flawed concept. To support his viewpoint he suggests that if both divorcing parties appear uninterested in resolving their situation by way of mutual agreement, then mandatory mediation is likely a waste of time. He further posits that if one party has a separate agenda or is simply going through the motions, a mandatory mediation will likely fail.
On the other hand, a different divorce columnist makes a strong positive case for mandatory mediation by pointing out that since California enacted its mandatory mediation statute, most child custody disputes have found resolution outside of a court setting in the context of a mediation conference. The columnist does agree that not every divorce is ideal for mediation, but he goes on to suggest that the concept of mediation in general and even mandatory mediation removes the perception that litigation is the default method of reaching a marital settlement agreement.
The columnist cites an attorney who routinely achieves successful mediation in high-conflict divorces. This attorney believes that nearly all divorce cases can reach settlement outside of court simply by altering perceptions. In any case, divorce mediation, whether mandatory or voluntary, fills an important role in reaching a separation agreement, especially under the guidance of knowledgeable legal professionals. Mediation can not only save a divorcing couple money, but the process also tends to be more amicable for all involved parties.
Source: Huffington Post, "Must Parties Confirm That They Are Open to Settlement For Mediation to Be Effective?" Mark Baer, Apr. 02, 2014