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19th Judicial Circuit Court ofLake County, Illinois
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19th Judicial Circuit > Services & Programs > Court-sponsored Mediation Programs

Court-sponsored Mediation Programs

Civil Case Mediation

As part of the long range plan, in 1996 the Court looked into having a Alternative Dispute Resolution program for cases that exceed the arbitration limits and subsequently created a mediation program for civil cases that are in excess of $50,000. The mediation program is different from the arbitration program in many ways, including but not limited to the following: the parties select the individual mediator; the parties pay the mediator directly; the mediation can be conducted in a variety of locations (the mediator's office a party's office, a neutral location, at the Arbitration Center, etc.); there is no specified time limit for the mediation conference and the mediator can conduct the mediation in a number of sessions spanning several days. The two most crucial differences between mediation and arbitration is (1) that mediation is voluntary and arbitration is mandatory, and (2) the mediator takes an active role in trying to help the parties resolve their dispute(s), whereas the arbitration panel hears the facts and renders a decision without active participation by the arbitration panel.

The Court sponsored mediator training in October 1996 for the 26 original applicants that were approved to act as mediators. To date, nearly 1,000 cases have been referred to the mediation program, with most of those cases settling at the mediation or after a mediation but prior to the trial date.

     Review our Civil Case Mediation Program Booklet for more information. 

     For a list of Certified Mediators for the Nineteenth Judicial CircuitClick here.

     The mediation program is supervised by Delta J. Hawkins, who can be reached at (847) 377-3700 for more information.

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19th Judicial Circuit Family Mediation Program


 Frequently Asked Questions

 List of Approved Mediators

 How to Become a Family Mediator

The Family Mediation Programs in Lake County provide divorcing parents the opportunity to submit custody, visitation, and removal disputes to mediation before proceeding to a contested hearing before the court. The Lake County Family Mediation Program is governed by local court rule 11.13.

Mediation is a way for parents to resolve their disputes in a private confidential setting with the assistance of a neutral third party whose role is to assist the parties in reaching an agreement on disputed issues by identifying issues, exploring options and facilitating communication between the parties. A mediated resolution allows the parties to avoid the uncertainty and expense of contested court proceedings.

Parents are the experts on their own children. In most cases, it is preferable for parents to decide between themselves how to raise their children instead of having the court decide. Both parents and children stand to benefit from a mediated resolution to a family dispute, children by seeing their parents work cooperatively to plan for the future, parents by learning better communication and problem solving skills.

Not all cases are appropriate for mediation. Mediation is not required where the presence of domestic violence, intimidation, substance abuse, child abuse, mental illness, cognitive impairment or other impediment to mediation hinders the ability of a party to negotiate safely, competently, or in good faith.

In addition to custody, visitation, and removal issues, the parties may also submit their property disputes to mediation through the Family Mediation Program in Lake County.

For more information, refer to our  Frequently Asked Questions on the Family Mediation Program.

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How to become a Family Mediator

     If you are interested in becoming a Lake County Family Mediator, please refer to local court rule 11.13.

Click the form title below to download and complete the form:

     Lake County

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Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Has Arrived!

The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Lake County is pleased to announce FREE housing counseling and mediation services. You may be able to save your home!

Homeowners facing foreclosure may be able to save their homes through informative how-to classes, personalized counseling, and mediation services. These free services are offered by the Lake County Courts in conjunction with the Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County, a nonprofit, HUD-certified agency.

Homeowners of residential real estate mortgage foreclosure cases that were filed on or after December 2, 2013 are eligible to participate. Eligible homeowners must first attend an education session offered by the Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County within 35 days of receiving summons and complaint. In mediation, a neutral, court-appointed mediator will facilitate discussion to help you and your lender reach a meaningful solution. Refer to our Motions in Foreclosure Cases - Instructions for Self-Represented Parties brochure for more assistance..

Don't go it alone! More information about education classes, including class times and locations, is available at or by calling AHC at 847-263-7478.

For general questions about the Foreclosure Mediation Program, please see ourResidential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program brochure or contact the Program Coordinator at 847-377-3552 or

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Lake County Small Claims Mediation Program

Since 2012, mediations for all small claims and forcible entry and detainer cases are heard every Thursday, excluding holidays, at no charge to litigants. Pro se litigants who are in C-306 (Small Claims) or C-307 (Law Magistrate) on Thursdays will be offered the option to mediate their case prior to further court proceedings.

This free program was designed to assist litigants with housing, consumer, or other disputes to reach faster and more satisfying dispute resolutions. Studies have demonstrated that litigants who participate in mediation often reach a more satisfactory mutual agreement and spend less time litigating before a judge. The role of the mediator is informal and includes assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives. So far, the program has been very successful, with an overall 75% success rate.

Click here to view the a Small Claims Mediation Program Brochure for those who would like more information.

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