When selecting a mediator for your divorce case in Illinois, one of the most important factors is whether the mediator may have a conflict of interest with your case. Your experienced DuPage County divorce attorney can look into whether any potential mediators may be barred from serving as a neutral party mediating the contested issues in your divorce.
Our firm's family law attorneys are skilled at identifying potential conflicts of interests and will work diligently to make sure your mediator is qualified and unbiased.
Who Determines Conflicts of Interest for Mediators?
The DuPage County court rules prohibit mediators from serving as neutral parties in cases with which they have a conflict of interest. While the burden of determining whether a conflict of interest exists and disclosing that conflict to the parties and the court falls ultimately on the mediator, it is important for the parties and their respective divorce attorneys to also be aware of any conflicts of interest that could potentially cause the mediation to be stopped midway through the process, wasting everyone's time and resources.
Conflict of Interests for Mediators in DuPage County
Some of the issues outlined in DuPage County court rules regarding conflicts of interest for mediators include:
Whether the mediator has a previous or current relationship with any of the parties- or their legal counsel- or any of their relatives , including children, parents, siblings and stepparents, or anyone else involved in the case. This can possibly include relationships with any witnesses or boyfriends or girlfriends of the parties, and "relationship" is defined as any "therapeutic, economic or personal" connection;
Mediators must not provide mental health counseling to the parties or their children, either during or after the mediation;
- Mediators who are attorneys must not represent either party during the mediation in any dispute whatsoever, or after the mediation in any dispute between the parties; and
- Whether the mediator or anyone he or she does business with—or even shares office space with—has a connection to a judge or evaluator involved in the case, now or in the past.
What Happens if a Conflict of Interest Occurs?
If a conflict of interest with your case is identified, the court will remove the mediator at the request of either party or their family law attorneys, or at the court's discretion. A new mediator may be appointed or selected by the parties and mediation may begin again. The court ultimately will decide whether any parties acted in bad faith and whether mediation fees are owed.
Consult an Experienced Divorce Mediation Attorney in DuPage County
Selecting a mediator with a conflict of interest in your case is best avoided. For this reason, it is important you work with a passionate DuPage County family law attorney who is familiar with identifying potential conflicts and selecting a mediator who is truly neutral.