Mediation FAQs

The Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Florida (DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties) provides the following FAQs for family mediation:

What is Family Mediation?

Family Mediation is an informal meeting where the parties work out mutually agreeable settlements in Family Court cases.  Parties have the opportunity to explore options and negotiate voluntary agreements that may be submitted to the Court for approval.

Who participates?

Family Mediation provides an opportunity for parties involved in family litigation to engage in a facilitated discussion about the specific issues in their case.  Counsel for each party may attend the conference.  Other third parties may only participate if both sides agree.

What issues can be discussed?

Issues may include but are not limited to: parental responsibility; parenting plans; child support; alimony; property division and debt responsibility. There are no restrictions on the types of issues that can be addressed during mediation, and parties may come to either a partial or full agreement that will satisfy everyone’s concerns.

When will parties go to Family Mediation?

When there is a pending petition or motion, the Court may issue an Order of Referral to the Family Mediation Program.  Only cases with a current Order of Referral (not more than 60 days old) are eligible.

Is Family Mediation Confidential?

Communications during the mediation process, other than a signed agreement, are confidential to the extent provided by law and are generally not admissible in court.

What happens at Mediation?

The mediator helps the parties to identify the issues they will address in mediation.  The parties then discuss these issues and explore alternatives to solve them.  If the parties reach a total or partial agreement, the mediator may prepare a memorandum or a mediation agreement for the parties’ signatures.  A signed agreement may then be submitted directly to the court for its review and approval.

What if no agreement is reached?

Mediation often clarifies the issues, even when the parties cannot agree. The mediator will report to the court that no agreement has been reached and that the case requires court resolution.

What are the advantages of participating in Family Mediation?

Mediation brings the parties together in a neutral confidential environment.  Mediation provides a forum to identify each party’s needs, interests and issues, foster joint problem solving, and explore settlement alternatives.  Mediation encourages the cooperation of all of the parties through a facilitated discussion.  Negotiations are conducted primarily by the parties.

Who is the Family Mediator?

Family mediators for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit have taken special training and are certified by the Florida Supreme Court.  The mediator is a neutral and impartial facilitator and has no decision-making authority.


About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
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One Response to Mediation FAQs

  1. Additional Info that should be added to this FAQ :
    Who can’t participate in Family Mediation:
    Generally, all court staff in Florida should EXCEPT any party who alleges Domestic Violence in the marriage from participating in Family Mediation.

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