Year started: 2004
Neutrals: Those who have completed court-approved mediation training.
Eligibility: Divorce cases involving property and financial disputes.
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
Local Rule 14.09 of the 17th Judicial Circuit established a pilot Financial Mediation Program in September 2004. The program offers mediation services for divorce cases involving property and financial disputes.
Cases will only be sent to mediation upon agreement of the parties and after a judge has determined no impairment or other circumstance exists that would interfere with mediation. The rule defines an impairment as a condition that would hinder a party's ability "to negotiate safely, competently and in good faith." Impairments may include domestic violence, substance abuse or mental illness.
When a case is sent to mediation, the parties are given the option of choosing a mediator from a list of court-approved mediators. To obtain court approval, mediators must complete a 40-hour family mediation training program, as well as a one-day training program for financial mediation conducted by the court. In addition, mediators must maintain and provide evidence of professional liability insurance that covers the mediation process.
Parties are responsible for paying mediation fees at a rate agreed to with the mediator before the first session. However, the judge may designate the case a reduced fee or indigency case, based upon the parties' ability to pay. The judge may also determine the percentage of the mediation fee to be paid by each party.
Parties and their attorneys are required to attend each mediation session. If a party fails to attend a session, the court may issue sanctions for mediator and attorney costs. The session will be held in private, and all communications made during the session will be confidential and may not be disclosed by the mediator or parties, except in certain limited situations outlined by the rule.
Mediations last for at least three hours, unless a resolution is reached before that point. If an agreement is reached, the mediator submits a report to the parties and their attorneys within 10 days of the conclusion of mediation. It is the parties' responsibility to review the agreement and submit it to the court for approval. Where there is no settlement, the mediator submits a report to the court saying the mediation has ended, without disclosing information about why no agreement was reached.
In order to evaluate this pilot program, participants and mediators are required to complete questionnaires within 10 days after the mediation. The court also created the Ad Hoc Committee to Explore Mediation of Financial Issues in Domestic Relations Cases to further monitor the program.
Illinois 17th Judicial Circuit. Jan. 1, 2019
Resource Type: Rules - Court
Abstract: The local rules for Illinois' 17th Judicial Circuit serving the Boone and Winnebago Counties.
Rule 2.07 Mandatory Arbitration: This section includes actions subject to mandatory arbitration, qualifications to be an arbitrator, procedures for the sch...Illinois Supreme Court. Article I - Illinois Supreme Court General Rules, Oct. 10, 2001
Resource Type: Rules - Court
Abstract: This rule authorizes judicial circuits to undertake mediation programs. Circuits electing to establish mediation program are directed to adopt rules for the conduct of mediation proceedings and to submit them to the Supreme Court. The Rule specifies ...