Law Office of Sandra J. Slaga © 2014 Site design by Digital Ninjas Media, Inc.
Law Office of Sandra J. Slaga, P.C.
515 North Court Street
Rockford, IL 61103
In family law, spouses and unmarried parents can choose to mediate visitation and custody issues. Here in Winnebago County, Illinois, mediation is mandatory for contested issues of parental responsibility, custody or visitation. The parties may agree on a mediator from the list of court-approved, qualified mediators or have one chosen from the list by the judge in their case.
For those parents willing to sit down face-to-face with each other, mediation offers an opportunity to create their own settlement within the limits of the law. The process is usually less confrontational and provides a setting for both parents to voice their concerns in a neutral environment. Mediation can quickly identify the issues and result in a negotiated settlement without the upset and significant costs associated with court action.
I am sensitive to the needs of all parties going through the breakup of their relationship. I understand that so often the legal system – being an adversarial process – destroys relationships between the very people the legal system later expects to co-parent and work together. Through mediation, I strive to help parties build a working relationship to create lines of communication for the future.
Choosing a mediator is much like choosing a physician. Credentials are important. Experience is important. Rapport is important. Remember, you will be discussing some of the most intimate details of your family, so choose a mediator with whom you will be comfortable sitting in a room and talking. If you feel rushed or uncomfortable or have any doubts, ask for a recommendation for other family law mediators in the area.
In the 17th Judicial Circuit here in Winnebago County, Illinois, a mediator must have a degree in law or a master’s or other advanced degree in a field that is substantially related to marriage and family relationships. A mediator also has to complete specialized training in family mediation consisting of at least 40 hours in the following areas: