No, mediation is not mandatory but it is commonly ordered in contested cases.
This response shall not be construed as specific legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship or privilege. Further, this response is not intended to solicit legal fees.
You may be confusing 2 requirements. A parenting class is required prior to a final child custody order will be entered. The class is not very long: an afternoon or an evening, and you even get college credit for it . Mediation sessions are only required if you and your spouse/former boyfriend/former girlfriend cannot reach an agreement on custody or visitation.
This is a general answer and does not address the specifics of your individual case. To give the specific answer you need our firm needs you to come in for a consultation.
Mediation is not a class. It is oje or more sessions ordeed by the court when parties cannot agree to certain parenting issues. If ordered, then it is mandatory. pursuant to Supreme Court Rule.