mediation road sign illustration designMediation has become a successful tool for settling family law cases such as divorce or child custody. It’s actually just one part of a broad range of processes known as Family Dispute Resolution or FDR.

Over the last 25 years, mediation–and FDR as a whole–has grown and shifted based on changes in the legal system and government regulations, both of which have impacted family dynamics in various ways. But where will mediation go from here?

Peter Salem, executive director of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and an experienced mediator in his own right, discusses the future of mediation in a recent article on the site


Salem believes that mediation has indeed made strides, but not necessarily in the ways he would have predicted 25 years ago.

The good news is that many divorce lawyers “have overcome their reticence about mediation” and are now largely responsible for handling divorce mediation in their own practices.

In addition, Salem notes that “a convergence of approaches” has led to more specific and helpful mediation and FDR processes such as collaborative divorce, cooperative law, parenting coordination, child custody counseling and conflict resolution conferences.

“Mediation has played a critical role as the catalyst for change, ushering the development of a range of FDR services that assist family members in resolving their disputes,” states Salem.


These new, integrative Family Dispute Resolution services will continue to thrive, according to Salem, because they “better meet the needs of the consumers” who use them, particularly parties in a divorce and the court systems that refer people to these services.

Several other factors also point to the on-going use of mediation. These include continued cuts in government programs and court services, an increase in parties who do not want or cannot afford a divorce lawyer, more complex family conflicts, and online dispute-resolution technology.

In addition, Salem has great faith in the continuing commitment of FDR practitioners. “There will continue to be a deeply committed cadre of professionals who dedicate enormous time and energy working toward expanding and improving the family dispute resolution process,” he says, which bodes well for the future of mediation services and other related processes.

As a family law attorney trained in divorce mediation and other FDR services, I can help resolve your Illinois divorce issues in a timely and cost-effective way. Contact me to learn more.


Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association.