Year started: 1997
Eligibility: never-married and indigent parents
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
The DuPage County Family Center began mediating custody and visitation disputes in 1997. The program is funded by a Child Access and Visitation Grant from the Illinois Department of Public Aid. The program provides free mediation services to never-married parents and indigent divorcing families. The mediations are conducted by four staff mediators who all have Master's degrees in mental health and have completed 40 hours of family/divorce mediation training. The cases are referred by attorneys and the court, which requires any case involving custody and visitation disputes be mediated before it is heard by a judge. Both parents are required to attend the mediation; third parties are allowed to attend if both parties agree to their presence.
The mediators first meet individually with each party to determine the issues in dispute and to get a social history. The mediator also screens for the appropriateness of mediation at this time. After an initial individual meeting the mediator meets with the parties together, unless it has been determined it would be better to continue to meet with the parties separately. Mediations take one to two sessions to complete, which last an average of 3 to 4 hours. Sometimes the parties will reach a temporary agreement and will return to mediation after a prescribed length of time of acting on that agreement.
The program mediates approximately 160-175 families per year and many of these families mediate multiple times. 75-80% of cases mediated settle.
Illinois 18th Judicial Circuit. Jan. 1, 2019
Resource Type: Rules - Court
Abstract: The local rules for Illinois' 18th Judicial Circuit serving DuPage county.
Article 13 - Mandatory Arbitration: Under this rule, all eligible cases valued between $10,000 and the monetary limit authorized by the Illinois Supreme Court must be referr...
DuPage County Family Center
1525 N. Main Street
Wheaton, IL 60187