Year started: 2004
Eligibility: All contested custody and visitation cases
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
The 2nd Circuit's judicial mediation program for custody and visitation issues in divorce cases was officially launched with referral of its first case in December 2004. Through this program, sitting judges who have completed the required 40-hour family training can mediate cases referred from other judges. The effort was spearheaded by then Chief Judge James Wexstten and Judge Stephen G. Sawyer. Judge Sawyer is also the sole judge currently mediating cases.
The issues eligible for judicial mediation are child custody, child visitation, and removal of children from the state of Illinois. Cases that have completed discovery (or in pro se cases after filing of financial affidavits) may be referred to mediation either upon the request of a party or by motion of the court. To ensure that there will be no conflict between Judge Sawyer's responsibilities as a judge and his service as a mediator, no cases that have been called before him or that he has acted upon can be referred to judicial mediation. Currently cases are being referred from Crawford, Edwards, Lawrence, Richland, Wayne and White Counties. With Judge Sawyer as their mediator, disputing parties participate free of charge. Counsel is not present at the mediation. Those parties who would prefer to pay a private mediator, or whose cases were called before Judge Sawyer, are provided that option through the court rule.
Mediations generally take about three hours. If an agreement is reached, the mediating judge enters and files the agreed terms as a provisional order within 21 days. The trial judge then may reject or co-enter the provisional order, at which time it becomes immediately effective.
Illinois 2nd Judicial District Court. Jan. 1, 2019
Abstract: The local rules for Illinois' 2nd Judicial Circuit cover Illinois' Edwards, Crawford, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne, and White Counties. These rules outline the procedures for various programs in t...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 ...
Summary: This study examines the outcomes of the first 15 months of the Second Judicial Circuit's judicial mediation program for custody and visitation disputes. Included in the report are the issues mediated, the resolution rate, time spent in mediation, the parents' perception of their experience, and the mediator's perceptions of the process.
The author is an RSI staff member.
Hon. Stephen Sawyer
Second Judicial Circuit
phone: (608) 262-8371