If you have a case involving child custody and visitation, whether the parties were married or whether they were never married, it does not matter, the mediation rule is the same. The Courts in Illinois require mediation for any contested issues relative to child custody or mediation. Many counties offer this service for free for parties that reside in their particular county, but you first need a court order in order to obtain these free services.
If you have an issue regarding child custody or visitation, you or your attorney need to first file a motion before the Court. (If you have a custody judgment that already exists, your custody judgment may govern whether or not you file a motion, first, etc. and it depends upon your individual circumstances). If there is no order in place as to these issues, though, it is a safe bet that you can file a motion. Upon presentment of the motion, it is highly likely that the Court will require the parties go to mediation and that a referral order to mediation will issue. The only time that mediation is not required is if you already have an agreement or judgment that doesn’t require mediation, or, if there is something that would substantially interfere with the parties’ ability to mediate (such as an order of protection). Otherwise, it is a safe bet that even if the other party doesn’t want to mediate, you will be referred to mediation.