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Should I precede through court with visitations or take advantage of the Free mediation services?

Glen Ellyn, IL |

My ex filed for visitation. Our county offers free mediation services to try and settle these kinds of issues. It did not work the first time, but now he is agreeing to give me most of what I want. My only concern is that I want supervised visits, given my ex's lengthy criminal history (sex offender, felony battery, misdemeanor battery..the list goes on). I've been told by a lawyer that I can get supervised, but I've been told by a mediator that supervised is only temporary unless they find a good cause to make it permanent. I don't want to spend all this money on a lawyer and time in court if the outcome will be the same (temporary supervised visits). Is it likely that I can fight for permanent supervised visitation and win?

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Attorney answers 2


Without a 1-on-1 consult to review the case history and his criminal record, I'm hesitant to give "house odds" on any case. However, the safety of the children are paramount to the court; if he's a convicted sex offender, that needs to be addressed ASAP.

In order to restrict visitation, a hearing (mini-trial) is required - the word "temporary" may be misplaced insofar that the father may petition to have the restriction modified at a later date (And should not be confused with a "temporary order," which terminates at the conclusion of litigation). Nothing is really permanent when it comes to family law, but final orders/judgments do have safe-guards that reduce the risk of re-litigation.

Dupage's PAK mediation is free, and generally my clients get in and out within a week. So you have various avenues of approach. Do talk to an attorney to review your options.

Best of luck & hope this helps.


I am not in your state and cannot give a definitive answer. However, consider that the whole point of mediation is to enable parties to reach whatever agreement they can both live with. How, then, can a mediator tell you ahead of time what or what will or will not happen in mediation? That is up to the parties! Thus, I take very great issue with the quote: " I've been told by a mediator that supervised is only temporary unless they find a good cause to make it permanent." I'm not calling you a liar, because I know there are mediators who think and operate this way. However, that mediator, in my opinion, is making a mockery of the whole concept of mediation, had no business venturing an opinion about what or what would not be agreed at mediation. The key issue for parties at mediation is to determine whether they can agree on a result they can both live with. It is up to the parties to figure this out. It is not for the mediator to tell people what to to. A good mediator, on the other hand, may help someone decide to reach an agreement by giving a "reality check". Namely, sometimes if we know a court would rule a certain way, we can save ourselves a lot of time and money by just agreeing to that. Whether your ex will agree to supervised visitation may depend on that type of "reality check". If a court would order supervised, you can both save a lot of money by agreeing to it. Or, you could decide between yourselves on some other arrangements that would be satisfactory for you to ensure your child's safety. If your lawyer thinks you can get supervised, I'd definitely urge that you have that attorney attend mediation with you. What have you got to lose? If mediation fails, you can always proceed to litigation later. But bear in mind that I am not an Illinois attorney. Do not act on my suggestion unless you first run it by an Illiniois lawyer to see if they agree, or not. In many court-ordered mediation programs, mediation has become so adulterated by the legal process that it is sometimes barely recognizable as what I would call mediation and is, instead, nothing more than a facilitated settlement conference.

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