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FAQs

What services are available at the SouthShore Regional Service Center?

The Southshore Regional Service Center provides services to individuals and businesses in the form of information, referral and community mediation as a way to resolve disputes.   All intakes are required to be issues that do not involve a current court filing.  The Service Center also provides training for mediators and educational presentations on topics related to conflict resolution.

Where and when are mediations held?

Community Mediations are scheduled at the mutual convenience of the parties, either at the Southshore Regional Service Center will be held on the third Wednesday of each month.  Provisions will be made for alternate days upon request.

What does mediation cost?

Community Mediation is free.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process which gives parties an opportunity to meet in a neutral setting to discuss their conflict with the help of an impartial third party, the mediator.  The mediator listens and assists the parties in clarifying the issues, finding common ground upon which to agree and helps parties explore solutions to their problem.  Decision making is in the hands of the parties.  Attorneys are welcome, but not required.  A copy of the signed agreement resolving the dispute is provided to the participants at the conclusion of the mediation. 

What occurs during a community mediation conference?

Only parties directly involved in the disputed matter are allowed to attend the community mediation conference.  Witnesses seldom participate in a conference and only when determined necessary by the mediator and consented to by all parties.  The mediator explains the process and each party has an opportunity to state their view of the dispute.  Information obtained during the process is confidential pursuant to  44.401 44.201 (5) Florida Statutes.

What are the benefits of community mediation?

The advantages of mediation over other forms of dispute resolution include:

  • It’s a free service
  • Information is confidential (pursuant to 44.401 Florida Statutes)
  • Attorneys are not required
  • Parties actively participate in the mediation process
  • Parties decide the outcome of the mediation process
  • Conferences are held during convenient hours, day or evening

What types of conflicts can be mediated?

Any type of dispute can be mediated as long as it is not an open court case.  For example:

  • Animal Nuisance
  • Balances Owed
  • Consumer Issues
  • Contract Disputes
  • Employee/Employer
  • Family Conflicts
  • HOA Matters
  • Landlord/Tenant (not evictions)
  • Money Owed
  • Neighborhood Disputes
  • Unsatisfactory Services
  • Insufficient Funds Checks
  • Almost any case appropriate for small claims, circuit civil and/or county civil
*Matters not appropriate for mediation are referred to other agencies or to the court.

 

Who are the mediators?

Mediators certified and trained in resolving conflicts.

Can community mediation/a mediator offer legal advice or representation in court?

No, the program does not provide legal advice nor representation. 

Is mediation required? Can I get subpoenaed to attend mediation?

No, community mediation is voluntary.  Parties are not court-ordered to participate in the community mediation conference nor subpoenaed to attend.

What happens if an agreement is reached?

When an agreement is reached, the mediator prepares a written document reflecting the parties’ agreement.  Both parties are asked to sign the agreement.  Each party is provided with a copy of the agreement for their records.  Disputes resolved through mediation eliminate the need for a court hearing, which reduces the time and expense involved. 

What happens if an agreement is not reached?

Mediation is a voluntary process that serves as a complement to the court system.  Parties may file a case in court should the matter not be resolved in mediation.

How do I request community mediation?

Individuals or businesses wishing to request a community mediation conference need to fill out a Community Mediation Request Form. Be sure to fill out the form fully and send or fax to the address indicated in the form.  Detailed specifics are not discussed until the actual mediation conference.  Persons looking to mediate in the Southshore Regional Service Center located in Ruskin, FL, should contact (813) 272.5642.