If I can't afford a custody battle, are there steps I can take in seeking custody without trying the case outright?

Mediation is mandatory in most counties in Illinois and is ordered if the parties do not reach agreement on allocation of parental rights and responsibilities within a short time after filings. In my experience, about 65% of cases settle after mediation. Many allocation of parental rights and responsibilities matters are resolved by a combination of mediation and negotiation. I believe that the skill level of the parties' attorneys is directly related to the ability of the parties to reach agreement on allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. When interviewing divorce attorneys, you should not only ask what percentage of their cases settle before trial. You should also ask what steps they will take to facilitate settlement after the case commences. A case that settles on the eve of trial has undoubtedly been pending for at least a year and has already cost the parties a fortune. Whereas, a case that is given prompt attention from the beginning by attorneys who are focused on helping the parties reach agreement will be concluded more quickly and at much less expense.