Alternative Dispute Resolution Director

Peter Spanos

352-540-6568

Mediation is a process whereby a neutral and impartial third person acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute without prescribing what it should be. It is an informal and non-adversarial process intended to help disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

The Hernando County Mediation Services Program offers mediation in Domestic, Dependency and Small Claim cases.

Small Claims

A Small Claim case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $8,000 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorneys’ fees. Forms that have been approved for statewide use are located within the Florida Small Claims Rules and on the Hernando County Clerk’s website.

The small claims mediations are conducted by Florida Supreme Court Certified County Mediator Volunteers.

County Court Claims

A County Court Claim case is a legal action filed in county court to settle legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $8,000 to $30,000, excluding costs, interest, and attorneys’ fees. County cases not exceeding $15,000 are mediated through the court mediation services. Cases exceeding $15000 must be mediated by private mediation. Forms that have been approved for statewide use are located within the Florida Small Claims Rules and on the Hernando County Clerk’s website.

Dependency Mediations

A dependency court case is a case involving the welfare and/or safety of children. Mediation is an opportunity for the parents and agencies to make decisions about their case plan and children.

Domestic Relations

The Domestic Relations Mediations handle matters involving dissolution of marriages, timesharing with the minor child(ren), child support, as well as all paternity matters. The Mediation takes place in private conference rooms at the courthouse guided by the mediator who is a neutral party with no opinions in your case. The Mediations are conducted prior to the trial date/ final hearing, in an effort to give the parties an opportunity to negotiate and resolve their case without the added expense and stress of trial. Court Mediation Services are available to those parties where the combined yearly income is less than $100,000.00. Those with income above that amount must seek a private mediator.

In Domestic Relations Mediations, as is the case with all mediations, the parties retain control and the power to make their own decisions. If the parties reach a settlement in mediation, the mediator draws up a written agreement for the parties and their attorneys to sign. The original agreement is then filed with the Court and the parties are given a copy. The Court is then notified by the Mediation Program that the case has settled.

To schedule a case for Domestic Mediation, all parties must have a current (within twelve months) Financial Affidavit filed, and then a referral order must be entered by the Judge presiding over the case before a date and time for the Mediation may be set. Our Domestic Relations Mediations are scheduled in three-hour blocks of time. If all parties agree, two mediation sessions for a domestic relations case may be scheduled on the same day. Fees are based on the combined income of both parties.

To schedule a Mediation or for further information, contact the following persons:

Peter Spanos
Mediation Coordinator
(352) 540-6568
pspanos@circuit5.org

Diane Hagert
Sr. Court Program Specialist
(352) 540-6737
Hernando_Mediation_Services_Department@circuit5.org

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