Anyone who knows RSI knows that we’re all about data. We believe that courts need good data about their programs in order to make good decisions about them. That’s why we were thrilled when the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Child Custody Issues asked for our help in developing a mediator report and participant survey that will be used statewide for family mediation. We’re even more thrilled that those forms have been adopted and will be required by the Supreme Court. This is part of the Court’s amendments to Rule 905, which went into effect September 1.
The rule, which governs child custody and visitation mediation, now requires that every judicial circuit file a quarterly report with the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts that includes “the number of custody, visitation and removal cases referred to mediation; the outcome of such a referral; number of cases referred on a pro bono basis; and the percentage of cases where the parties expressed satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the process.” The information will be used for what we love best at RSI – review of the mediation program statewide.
A more substantive change in the rule expands mandatory mediation to include a custodial parent’s request to remove a child to another state. It also requires the courts to make a “good faith” effort to provide an interpreter when a non-English speaking parent is involved in mediation and to provide a pro bono attorney when applicable.