The Dane County Foreclosure Mediation Program, which is being administered by the UW Law School with support from the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce, will be up and running in February. A key requirement for participation in the program is that the home at the center of the foreclosure lawsuit must be owner-occupied. Homeowners wishing to participate must also agree to meet with a volunteer housing counselor prior to mediation.
“We are excited to provide support for a program aimed at bringing homeowners and lenders together in a productive dialog that will hopefully lead to a better outcome for both parties,” said Dan O’Callaghan, a local attorney and co-chair of the Taskforce.
Mediation is a confidential dispute-resolution process where the parties to a lawsuit meet with a neutral third-party mediator who helps the parties reach agreement by focusing on the key issues in a case, exchanging information between the parties and exploring options for settlement.
Effective February 1, 2010, a court rule recently adopted by the Dane County Circuit Court Judges requires plaintiffs in a foreclosure action to provide defendants with a court-approved form announcing the program’s existence. If an eligible homeowner requests mediation and the lender agrees to participate, a mediation session will be conducted by volunteer mediators provided by the Dane County Bar Association.
The application form is available from the Dane County Clerk of Courts here.