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Mandatory Mediation Program

Will County Circuit Court

Free Foreclosure Mediation is now available thru the court-sponsored Mandatory Mediation Program. It may be possible to save your home thru the program. But, the Notice of Mandatory Mediation issued by the Clerk of the Circuit Court states "you must take action NOW!"

You many have been servied with a foreclosure complaint that could cause you to lose your home. The Twelfth Judicial Circuit (Will County) has adopted a local rule establishing a Mandatory Mediation Program to assist homeowners like you in foreclosure. This program is available to all homeowners whether or not they file an answer to the foreclosure complaint and is FREE OF CHARGE.

What does it mean? Foreclosure mediation is a process where a neutral mediator assists lenders and borrowers in trying to reach a voluntary and mutual agreement to resolve a loan delinquency. In the event a re-negotiation of your loan terms cannot be done, the mediator will also discuss your giving up your house in exchange for the lender releasing you from any further liability. All of your discussions with the mediator will be kept confidential.

Where does the mediation take place? Foreclosure mediation takes place in the Will County Court Annex located at 57 N. Ottawa Street, Joliet, IL in the Arbitration Center on the 3rd floor of the courthouse. In order to take advantage of this FREE mediation program you must appear for a pre-mediation meeting with the mediator on the date set forth in the Summons given to you. Failure to appear will result in the mediation process being terminated and your case being referred back to the judge for a possible judgment against you.

What Documents are needed? In order to assist the mediator in determining your ability to keep your home, you need to bring the following documents to your initial mediation court date

  • most recent tax return
  • current bank statements, if available
  • most recent W-2 and paystub (if employed)
  • completed Questionnaire that was attached to the Summons (all information will be kept confidential)

Take Caution! While no court action will be taken against you while the mediation process is ongoing, there is no guarantee that an agreement can be reached between you and your lender. If you dispute your lender's claims, you should consult an Illinois licensed attorney and/or file an answer to the complaint.

Chief Judge Establishes Mandatory Mediation Program

Here are the Administrative Procedures ...

  1. FILING FEE: In all cases where the Complaint seeks to foreclose a mortgage (residential, commercial, industrial or other) the Circuit Clerk shall charge an additional $150 filing fee to defray the cost of the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mandatory Mediation Program. The fees collected shall be forwarded to the Will County Treasurer and maintained in a separate fund subject to disbursement on order of the Chief Judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit.
  2. SUMMONS: In all Residential Mortgage Foreclosure cases, plaintiff shall use a Summons Form specifically tailored for those cases.
  3. ATTACHMENTS TO SUMMONS: In all Residential Mortgage Foreclosure cases, plaintiff shall attach a Notice of Mandatory Mediation and a Foreclosure Mediation Program Initial Questionnaire.
  4. SCHEDULING OF PRE-MEDIATION SCREENING CONFERENCE: In all Residential Mortgage Foreclosure cases plaintiff shall select a date and time for the conference from a list of dates issued by the Circuit Court. The date shall be at least 42 days but not more than 60 days from the issuance of Summons. Said date shall be inserted in the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Summons.
  5. ALIAS SUMMONS: If an alias summons becomes necessary, the plaintiff shall select a new date for the pre-mediation screening conference at least 42 days and not more than 60 days from the issuance of the alias summons. No court order will be required for the issuance of an alias summons.
  6. COUNTERCLAIMS TO FORECLOSE A MORTGAGE: Where the complaint to foreclose a mortgage takes the form of a counterclaim (for example the original complaint was a mechanics lien), any any party filing a counterclaim to foreclose a mortgage must pay the extra $150 filing fee required under the Mandatory Mediation Program.
  7. SECOND LIENHOLDER RIGHTS TO PARTICIPATE IN MEDIATION: Any 2nd lienholder may attend any scheduled mediations. To the extent the mediators request that a 2nd lienholder be invited to attend, the plaintiff's counsel shall provide such notice to any other lienholders.
  8. PLACING MEDIATION ON HOLD STATUS: In the event a plaintiff lender places a file on "hold," it may ask the mediator to reset the mediation to a future date which may be greater than 30 days, provided, however, if all parties to the mediation are not in attendance, the plaintiff's counsel shall provide prompt notice of such rescheduled dated to all parties not in attendance.
  9. PRE-MEDIATION CONFERENCE PROCEDURE: At the Pre-mediation Screening Conference, if the mediatior determines that a Formal Mediation will be beneficial, Mediator shall direct plaintiff's counsel to provide to the borrower a Loan Modification Packet. Mediator shall also schedule the formal mediation at a time consistent with sufficient time for the borrower to complete the packet and the lender to have sufficient time to analyze the Loan Modification Packet from an underwriting perspective. If the timing for those two things is uncertain the mediator may adjourn the Pre-mediation Screening to a future date for status.
  10. ADMONITIONS TO BORROWER AND LENDER: At the Pre-Mediation Screening the mediator shall admonish both the borrower and the lender of the need to complete matters in a timely fashion and participate in Good Faith.
  11. FORMAL MEDIATION: At the Formal Mediation, Lender must be represented in person or by a person with full authority to make decisions on the case. That person may be an underwriter, loss mitigation person, or any company representative with FULL authority to enter into loan modification agreements or to negotiate a Deed in Lieu disposition. All defendant borrowers shall also be present in person and further may have their attorney or a housing counselor at the Formal Mediation.
  12. TIMING OF FORMAL MEDIATION: Formal Mediation shall be scheduled in a timely fashion with a goal not to extend the period of redemption under the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Act. All parties shall use their best efforts to achieve a timely disposition and not delay the proceedings.
  13. CELL PHONE USAGE: Since it is contemplated that plaintiff's counsel and lender's representatives will need to consult telephonically in the Mediation Process, counsel and lender's representative shall be allowed to bring cell phones into the Will County Arbitration Center solely for the purpose of aiding in the mediation process. In no case are photographs or recordings of the proceedings or personnel attending allowed.
  14. DOCUMENTS TO REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL: All documents used by the mediator, with the exception of official reports to the Court of the results of the mediation or pre-mediation conference, are to be be kept confidential. They are not official court records and are not discoverable. The goal is to have the parties engage in a confidential mediation process. The reports of the Pre-Mediation and mediation conference filed with the Court will be maintained in a separate place in the Court file for the use of the Presiding Judge.

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Bob Schaller PictureI am attorney Robert Schaller and have been practicing law for over 25 years. I have clients in almost 2,000 court cases. I am eager to represent you and let my experience work for you --- saving your home.

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