Programs: Family Law Mediation - 1st Judicial Circuit
Year started: 1993
Neutrals: Judges, attorneys, and mental health professionals approved by the court
Eligibility: All dissolution, post-dissolution, paternity, family, and order of protection cases
Pro bono services available?: yes
The 1st Circuit's Family Law Mediation Program, founded in 1993, covers cases involving dissolution of marriage, post-dissolution, paternity, family, and order of protection proceedings. All contested issues in these cases may be mediated, with the exception of whether grounds for dissolution of marriage exist, proof of paternity, and whether an order of protection should be issued. Eligible cases are, by agreement of the parties or upon the court's own motion, assigned to court-ordered mediation by the presiding judge of the case.
Parties may select mediators from a roster maintained by the court. Parties may also find a mediator through Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc., a community mediation in the 1st Circuit whose members meet the mediator qualifications set by the court rule. If they cannot agree on a mediator, they submit a list of three mediators to the judge, who then selects the mediator from that list. Only retired Illinois judges, attorneys, and mental health professionals may become approved roster mediators. Attorneys and mental health professionals must complete a mediation training program approved by the Chief Judge of the 1st Judicial Circuit and at least five years experience in family law or familial relationships.
The parties are responsible for paying the mediator, whose fees are published in the court roster. However, for qualified cases, the court may order the case to be mediated pro bono or for a reduced fee. Compensation of the mediator is shared equally by the parties unless otherwise agreed by the parties or ordered by the court.
The mediation process may vary. Mediators decide the number of mediation conferences to be held and have full authority to require the attendance of any individuals deemed reasonable and necessary by the mediator in order to proceed. If considered appropriate, the mediator may excuse the presence of the parties' attorneys; however, the mediator cannot prohibit attorney participation. The mediator is required to report to the court within fourteen days of the last mediation session whether the mediation ended in "full agreement," "partial agreement," or "no agreement."
1st Judicial Circuit Court - Order for Mediation
Text of rule: http://dri-inc.org/files/medorder.PDF
Date adopted: September 16, 1993
Summary: This form orders mediation in child custody/visitation cases in the 1st Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois. Mediators must be selected by parties from a court-approved list within seven days from this date on this order and the mediation must occur within 45 days of that date.
1st Judicial Circuit Court - Pro Bono Family Mediation Referral Form
Text of rule: http://dri-inc.org/forms/CoverLetterandReferralForm.pdf
Date adopted: August 1, 2007
Summary: This referral form is for those seeking pro bono mediation services in the 1st Judicial Circuit of Illinois for family cases including dissolution of marriage, paternity, custody and visitation. The form requests information about the mother, father, their children and their attorneys and includes a Certification of Household Income. Mediation services are provided by Dispute Resolution Institute, a community mediation organization in the First Circuit.
1st Judicial Circuit Court-Ordered Mediation
Text of rule: http://dri-inc.org/1circuitrule.html
Date adopted: May 7, 2004
Summary: This rule pertains to all dissolution of marriage, post-dissolution, paternity, and order of protection cases. Cases may be referred to mediation by request of the parties or by order of the court. Proceedings are to be confidential and mediators are given the authority to decide who must attend, how many sessions are necessary, and when and whether to terminate the mediation. The rule outlines the qualifications needed to become an approved roster mediator, gives authority to the court to impose sanctions on parties failing to comply with the rule, and provides judicial immunity to the mediators.
1st Judicial Circuit Local Rule 7.2 - Family Program
Text of rule: http://www.fjc-il.org/2010%20Local%20Rules%20regular%20format.pdf
Date adopted: September 1, 2010
Summary: This rule sets the guidelines and procedures for the court's mandatory mediation program for child custody and visitation disputes. Unless the case involves indigent parties, the court will refer it to private mediation. Parties may choose, or the court may appoint, a private mediator from a roster maintained by the court. Mediators must complete a court-approved 40-hour family mediation training program and meet certain other educational requirements. They must also agree to mediate at least four reduced fee or pro bono cases each year. Parties are required to attend and full participate in mediation, which will last at least four hours (unless terminated sooner by the mediator). The rule further reviews impediments to mediation, mediation procedures, confidentiality and post-mediation procedures.
For more information about this program, contact:
Assistant Court Administrator
First Judicial Circuit Court
Williamson County Courthouse
Marion, IL 62959