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Mediation is a way to settle disputes and law suits instead of going through a trial. It allows you to control decisions affecting your family, finances, business, divorce, custody problems and other aspects of life. A trained neutral professional helps you and the other party negotiate a compromise. That compromise will be written into a contract signed by both parties. The Goal of mediation is to assist people in conflict find a "win - win" solution to problems without a costly courtroom battle.

Why Should You Use Mediation?

Mediation has many advantages:

  • The people in a conflict control the outcome of their dispute, not a judge or jury.
  • Any issue between people can be discussed and resolved, whether or not it is part of a lawsuit.
  • Mediation promotes communication and cooperation.
  • Mediation is less expensive than litigation.
  • The people involved in mediation will save money on attorney's fees.
  • Mediation teaches people how to negotiate, a skill that can be used in future problem resolution.
  • Mediation is confidential, personal problems are not aired publicly.
  • Mediation is usually quicker and more efficient than the trial process.
  • Mediation allows individuals to tailor solutions to best meet their needs.

How Does Mediation Work?

A mediator meets and talks with all parties together. They may then talk with each party privately. The mediator will separate the issues and facts in dispute from the issues and facts not in dispute. Settlement options designed to meet each party's goals and interests, are developed and discussed with the parties. Settlement discussions are confidential, legal proceedings. Mediation is concluded when the parties sign an agreement or when they cannot agree on any solution. An agreement is reached in the majority of cases and future litigation is not necessary.

Mediation F.A.Q.

Q: Do I Need An Attorney?

A: Mediation rules do not require you to bring an attorney, the decision is up to you. Please keep in mind that the mediator cannot give legal advice or tell you the advantages or disadvantages of any proposed settlement. If you do not wish to bring an attorney with you, you may want to consult with an attorney prior to mediation to discuss your legal rights and responsibilities.

Q: What Types Of Cases Can Be Mediated?

A: Generally speaking all types of civil and family law cases can be mediated. In the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, there are several types of mediation programs to serve your needs. These include the Citizen Dispute Settlement Program, Small Claims case mediation for cases where the amount in dispute does not exceed $5,000 , Family Law mediation for couples seeking a dissolution of marriage (divorce), County Court Civil disputes up to $15,000 and Circuit Court civil disputes where the amount in dispute exceeds $15,000.

  • Citizen Dispute Settlement Program - The Citizen Dispute Settlement Program (CDS) is a court alternative program. Its purpose is to help disputing parties negotiate mutually beneficial solutions to their problems with the aid of a mediator. Problems addressed in this program include: landlord/tenant disputes, conflicts between neighbors, consumer/business problems and disputes between individuals that may not be covered under a specific law. The services of this program are free of charge.
  • Small Claims Mediation - Small Claims Mediation is offered at the time of the pretrial conference to give the parties involved an opportunity to reach an agreement outside of court and avoid the necessity of a trial. Certified volunteer County Court Mediators sit down in a conference room with both parties to assist them in resolving their dispute without a trial before a judge. The services of this program are also free of charge.
  • Family Mediation - The Family Mediation Program offers couples with disputed issues the opportunity to determine and control the terms of their settlement. It reduces the emotional stress and trauma of the adversarial environment of the courtroom. Mediation provides a professional family mediator as a neutral third party to guide couples through the issues of conflict. The mediator is dedicated to reaching a mutual final agreement and does not favor one party over the other. The parties in a family mediation share the cost of the mediator on an equal basis.
  • Circuit and County Court Mediation - The difference between Circuit and County Court civil disputes is based on the dollar amount in dispute. Cases in which the amount in dispute do not exceed $15,000 are assigned to County Court. In those cases where the amount in dispute exceeds $15,000 the case will be assigned to Circuit Court. The judge in the case may order the parties in a dispute to submit to mediation with a professional mediator to resolve a case prior to bringing the matter before the court. The parties in these cases share the cost of mediation on an equal basis.
Contact Information


Telephone: (239) 533-3353


Telephone: (941) 637-2317


Telephone: (239) 252-8704


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