Former Cook County Family Law Judge Joins ADR Systems - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


ADR Systems is excited to welcome Hon. Joan M. Kubalanza, (Ret.) to our panel of neutrals as a senior mediator and arbitrator of family law disputes. Judge Kubalanza served for 11 years as an Associate Judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, spending five of those years in the Child Protection Division and the remaining years as a judge in the Domestic Relations Division, where she frequently settled cases before trial. She is the fifth neutral to join ADR Systems in 2022.

“Family law disputes are, in a sense, more personal than other legal conflicts,” explained Judge Kubalanza. “In other cases, an insurance adjuster accompanies one of the parties, or the dispute derives from a business relationship. In family law, it’s a marriage in crisis. That’s intimate; that’s vulnerable, so it’s important that the parties have a say in the resolution of their dispute. Mediation provides that.”

Judge Kubalanza carries this perspective to ADR Systems from her time successfully settling numerous cases through pretrial settlement discussions in the Domestic Relations Division. “I can’t think of a case that I did not, at some point, bring back to my chambers and ask, ‘How are we going to resolve this?’” Very often, a creative approach and her recommendation that the parties “be willing to hear what the other has to say” answered that question.

In one case, she recalled that the wife did not want to divide her company, which she founded before marrying, in the divorce settlement. The parties were at an impasse until Judge Kubalanza suggested they reallocate their retirement funds, granting the husband a larger share in exchange for the wife’s full retention of ownership of her company. Judge Kubalanza pays close attention to the smaller, nuanced aspects of mediation as well. In another matter, she recalled stepping into an exchange to point out that one of the parties had only a moment prior offered a flattering compliment to other, which helped ease tensions.

“People should not be left to wonder how they are going to move on,” said Marc Becker, president of ADR Systems. “Judge Kubalanza promises a committed, unbiased and practical approach to family law mediation. I know she will help numerous families tailor their settlements to their needs and find the closure they seek.”


Hon. Joan M. Kubalanza, (Ret.) is a senior mediator and arbitrator concentrating in family law. Judge Kubalanza spent more than 24 years litigating commercial cases and served for 11 years as an Associate Judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, spending five of those years in the Child Protection Division and the remaining years as a trial judge in the Domestic Relations Division. Her experience in and knowledge of family law allows her to develop innovative ideas for settling the most difficult cases.

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ADR Systems, It’s Settled. ®

Our mediation using videoconferencing was convenient and effective – we settled! Judge Casciato gained the party's trust and confidence while deftly guiding us through the negotiation process via a videoconference.  With the use of virtual breakout rooms, Judge Casciato was able to spend private time with everyone.  This remote mediation worked well for us and I would not hesitate to use it again.  

Carl Salvato, PartnerSalvato, O'Toole & Froylan