Mediation is a process whereby a neutral and impartial third person (the mediator) acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute without prescribing the resolution.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (ADR)
The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit's Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (ADR) utilizes Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators, who assist the parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The court program's mediators mediate Family, Juvenile Dependency, and County Court matters.
In Family cases (DR cases), mediation may be conducted by Staff Mediators for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. The cost is $60 per person, per mediation session, when the parties have a combined income of less than $50,000 annually; $120 per person, per mediation session, when parties have a combined income of more than $50,000 but less than $100,000 annually; and, if the combined income of the parties exceeds $100,000 annually, the parties will be required to obtain mediation services from an independent/private mediator. If a party is determined to be indigent, that party shall bring a copy of the Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status or appropriate court order to the ADR Office, in which case the fee will be waived for that party.
For Juvenile Dependency cases (DP cases), mediations are provided by Staff Mediators, without cost to the litigants.
Juvenile Dependency Mediation provides an opportunity to resolve issues that arise when a family has entered the Dependency system. Dependency Mediation provides an opportunity for the parents, other family members, foster parents, professionals involved in investigating and/or assisting the family, guardian ad litem, foster children advocates, any other parties and their respective lawyers in the case, to have an informal, confidential and privileged discussion moderated by a neutral and impartial mediator. The purpose of the Dependency Mediation is to see if the parties can voluntarily reach an agreement. If an agreement is reached, then it will be submitted to the court for its approval instead of each party pleading their case and asking the court to make the final decision in their case.
For Small Claims cases (SC cases, $5,000 or less), there is no charge to the litigants for mediations held during pretrial sessions/hearings. Mediation is provided/offered for every Small Claims case during a pre-trial session/hearing. No appointments or actions need to be taken by the parties to arrange this type of mediation. On occasion, Small Claims cases are referred to mediation by a Judge. If the mediation is not to happen during the pretrial session/hearing, there will be a cost to the parties. Parties have the option to use/hire a private mediator, or may choose to use the Court’s ADRO Office to schedule a mediation with a Court Appointed Mediator. The cost of a Court Appointed Mediator is $60 per party, per mediation session (up to 2 hours). In order to use the Court Program for mediation, litigants can reach out to the Mediation Services Coordinator by email CAD-MediationRef@pbcgov.org, or phone (561) 355-6298.
For County Civil cases (CC cases, between $5,000-$15,000), most cases will be referred to mediation by the assigned Judge. Parties may use/hire a private mediator, or may choose to use the Court’s ADRO Office to schedule a mediation with a Court Appointed Mediator. The cost of a Court Appointed Mediator is $60 per party, per mediation session (up to 2 hours). In order to use the Court Program for mediation, litigants can reach out to the Mediation Services Coordinator by email CAD-MediationRef@pbcgov.org, or phone (561) 355-6298.
Related Administrative Orders
Related Florida Statutes:
Ch 39.01, 39.307, 39.4075, 39.521, 39.601
Ch 44.1011, 44.102, 44.104, 44.106, 44.107, 44.108
Ch 61.16, 61.183
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm