Mediation Program for Domestic Relations Cases

Mediation is a non-binding confidential process by which a neutral third person assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation is mandatory for (1) initial determinations of allocation of parental responsibilities; (2) modification of allocation of parental responsibilities; (3) relocation; and (4) non-parent (third party) visitation. Mediation is discretionary for all other issues, including financial and discovery disputes. The court may order parties to discretionary mediation, even if one or both parties object. 

There are three (3) avenues in which parties may attend mediation: 

  1. Child-Related Mediation with Family Court Services (FCS) – When issues are child-related, and the parties cannot agree on a mediator, FCS conducts the mediation. FCS is a department of the Office of the Chief Judge. All entered FCS orders shall be emailed to The parties shall then receive a date and time for their mediation session from FCS. For questions about FCS mediation or scheduling, call (312) 603-1540. For more information on Family Court Services programs, please go here.
  2. Financial Mediation with a Court-Certified Mediator – For discretionary mediation of non-child related issues, the court may order parties to mediation with an attorney on the court-certified mediation list. Court-certified mediators are approved by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division. 
  3. Private Mediation by Agreement – Parties may agree to a private mediator that will cover both issues. The private mediator may come from the court-certified list, but any mediator willing to serve within a period of time that would not interfere with the court’s scheduling of the case for trial may mediate. 

For more information on mediation, please review Local Court Rule 13.4

Attorneys and mental health professionals interested in becoming a court-certified mediator, click here.