From the Mediation Center:

APPOINTMENTS:

Prairie Land is a volunteer-run org. providing FREE by-appointment mediation services. Mediators, recorders and the scheduler donate their time and skills to successful mediations. Appointments may be set on a day 3-5 days after the initial call or 7 or more days during busy weeks. But our by-appointment flexibility allows us to schedule after 5 PM if that is more convenient.


VOICEMAIL:

In order to provide free services, we do not staff a receptionist. No answer? Leaving voicemail is a perfect way to keep a record of requests and respond on the next business day.


DOCUMENTATION:

Prairie Land is not an arm of the Champaign County court or court record system. We do not archive casefiles for client request. All document requests and questions about filings are made through court. Letters regarding case determinations are only ever sent to the presiding Judge.


MOST IMPORTANTLY:

Court-referral mediation is still voluntary and still free with Prairie Land. The heightened emotional stress of parenting conflict and hectic work schedules may trigger frustration and anger. Berating the scheduler via phone or mediator in person is the fastest way to being denied this free service. Please be patient as our volunteers schedule appointments to meet with a mediator.

What is mediation?

An informal process in which a neutral third party helps people in conflict negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement.

What are the three hard-and-fast rules during mediation at PLCMC?

1. Significant others, relatives, friends or another person who is not a client, mediator or scribe is not permitted to be present during the mediation unless both parties agree to their participation. Children are never permitted in mediation.
2. 24 Hours: If a client would like his or her attorney to review the Mediated Agreement before signing, 24 hours are given for this review.
3. Attorneys: If a client would like his or her attorney to be present during the mediation, both parties must have their attorneys present.

What are the benefits of mediation?

  1. Mediation may be less expensive than going to court.
  2. Mediation is usually faster than going to court.
  3. Mediation is private and confidential.
  4. Mediation gives parties a chance to fashion an agreement which meets their needs.
  5. Mediation gives parties control over the outcome.

What disputes can be mediated?

  1. Domestic Relations: including divorce, custody, property division, and parenting time and support.
  2. Civil cases:  including contracts, fee disputes, landlord/tenant, employer/employee and money demands.
  3. Criminal cases: victim/offender restitution.
  4. Veterans: re-entry into civilian life.

What happens in mediation?

Generally, the mediator begins by describing the process, and parties are given an opportunity to tell their side of the story. The mediator then helps identify the issues, suggests a negotiation process, promotes communication, and helps the parties look at possible options for agreement. During the mediation, the mediator may meet with each party separately.  These separate meetings provide an opportunity for parties to discuss with the mediator specific concerns or goals they might not want to disclose to other parties.

What happens when we reach an agreement?

The Mediator can help the parties put everything in writing. The parties should then take the draft agreement to their lawyers for review, comment, and processing through the court.  If the lawyers attend the mediation the lawyer may draft the agreement. If the parties do not reach an agreement, they simply notify their lawyers and go back to court.

What does mediation cost?

PLCMC provides family mediation services at no cost to its clients.