Alternative Dispute Resolution Director
Jo Dell Coning

Mediation is a process whereby a neutral and impartial third person acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute. It is an informal and non-adversarial process intended to help disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. In all mediations, you are the decision maker, not the mediator.

The Lake County Mediation Services Program offers mediation in domestic, dependency, and small claim cases. The mediations are conducted by Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators.

Small Claims

A small claim case is a legal action filed in county court to settle legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $5,000 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 Lake County Clerk’s websites.

Small claim mediations are scheduled on Wednesdays. In Lake County, the date for a small claim mediation is scheduled at the time the lawsuit is filed and is stated on the summons.

Dependency Mediations

The Court may order a dependency court case involving you and your children to mediation. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties involved in the case to reach agreements about the issues in the case. The mediator is a trained and certified, neutral person who helps facilitate communication between the parties.

Our dependency mediation conferences are scheduled every Friday throughout the year except for holidays. The dependency mediations are usually scheduled for one hour sessions beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day until 4:30 p.m.

Domestic Relations

The domestic relations mediations involve dissolution of marriages, paternity actions, timesharing with the minor child(ren), and child support within these matters. The mediation takes place in a private conference room 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 or final hearing to give the parties an opportunity to negotiate and resolve their case without the added expense and stress of trial. 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, or their attorneys, draw(s) up a written agreement for the parties to sign. The original agreement is then filed in the court file and the parties are given a copy.

To schedule a case for domestic relations mediation, 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 for three hour blocks of time. Morning sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. and afternoon sessions begin at 1:30 p.m. If all parties agree, two mediation sessions for a domestic relations case may be scheduled on the same day.

To schedule a mediation or for further information, contact Jo Dell Coning at 352-253-1602 or

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