Court Certified Mediation
Mediators are volunteers (though some counties, such as Dade, pay their mediators) who have completed required training to facilitate communication between parties in a dispute and explore the possibilities of settlement in an attempt to avoid a potentially costly and stressful court trial.
Mediators are certified by the Supreme Court of Florida. Rules and standards can be found in the Alternative Dispute Resolution section of the Florida Courts Website.
There are mediators in County Courts (small claims and civil), Family Courts, Circuit Courts and Dependency Courts, and mediations may take place in a variety of settings, including courthouses, schools and private offices.
Type of Work Performed
Mediators in County Court: Each county has its own County Court Mediation program. Mediators may work on:
- Landlord/tenant cases relating to the nonpayment of rent, evictions and other disputes between landlords and their tenants;
- Small claims cases for damages up to and including $8,000 (effective Jan. 1, 2020), excluding court costs, interest, and attorney fees; and
- County civil cases involving claims ranging from $8,001 through $15,000 in damages, excluding court costs, interest and attorney fees. These cases involve contract and indebtedness, and negligence and other county civil claims.
Mediators in Family Court: Mediators assist with issues of time sharing, custody, developing parenting plans, property distribution, etc.
Mediators in Dependency Court: Mediators assist in cases involving child neglect or abuse.
Mediators in Circuit Court: Circuit court cases involve amounts in controversy over $15,000. Although most of the mediators in these civil cases are attorneys, dentists, doctors, teachers and other professionals often mediate cases related to their area of expertise.
After the initial training and observation time needed to become certified, participation is based on the amount of time the mediator wants to spend.
Meeting and Travel Information
The amount of travel varies widely based on the location of the mediation, but most work is done locally. Florida Statutes section 44.102 Court-ordered mediation states “Whenever possible, qualified individuals who have volunteered their time to serve as mediators shall be appointed. If a mediation program is funded pursuant to s. 44.108, volunteer mediators shall be entitled to reimbursement pursuant to s. 112.061 for all actual expenses necessitated by service as a mediator.”
To become a certified mediator, an individual must take a 20-hour certification course, with additional requirements of training and/or observation hours. Continuing education is required. Once certified, mediation participation is largely left up to the participant. Download “How to Become a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator” guide for specifics.