A guide to Family Law
Family Law includes, but is not limited to, matters arising from dissolution of marriage, annulment, paternity, child support, custodial care of or access to children, adoption, injunctions for the protection against domestic and repeat violence, and all proceedings for modification, enforcement and civil contempt of these actions. Although child support matters are filed in the Family Law Division, any inquiries regarding payment of child support should be directed to the State of Florida Disbursement Unit at 1-877-769-0251.
Family Law Self Help Program
FAMILY COURT CASE MANAGEMENT FORMS/PACKETS
All Packets are $15.00/Forms are $1.00 each
#01. Simplified Divorce (no children/property)
#02. Divorce w/o children
#03. Divorce with children
Modification: (use to modify an existing order only)
#04. Modify Child Support
#05. Modify Custody
#06. Modify Time Sharing
#07. Motion for Civil Contempt/Enforcement
#09. Petition for Temporary Custody (when you are extended family or believe you’re the father and the child[ren] live with you.)
#10. For Adult
#11. For Minor
Establish Paternity & Custody: (used when parties are not married)
#12. Petition to Establish Home Base, Time Sharing +Adopt Parenting Plan (DOR case exist)
#13. Petition for Modification of Final Order of Paternity
#14. Action to Establish Paternity, Visitation, Custody & Support
#15. Motion to Terminate Support ($5.00 for form/$50.00 filing fee)
#16. Motion for Credit for Direct Support Payments ($5.00 for forms).
Forms: (cost $1.00 each)
A. Uniform Custody Act (UCCJEA)
B. Financial Affidavit
C. Notice of Filing Social Security Number
D. Child Support Worksheet
E. Motion/Order Reduce Fee PDR Class
F. Notice Case is at Issue/Request Hearing
G. Notice of Action
H. Motion Default
I. Motion to Deviate from Support Guideline
J. Affidavit as to no Account (housing, social security, food stamps). Document prep $7.00
K. Petition to Contest Delinquency & Suspension of License ($25.00 to file)
L. Affidavit and Request for Participation in Depository Account
Other Forms: (no charge)
M. Notice of Current Address
N. General Motion
O. SDU Direct Deposit
P. SDU Lost Check
Q. SDU Information Sheet
R. List of Mediators
T. Certificate of Service
Information on getting assistance using a Self-Help Coordinator
If you need help in filing your forms you can call a Family Self-Help Coordinator at (352) 374-3694.
The Self Help Coordinator WILL explain how to file forms, help set a hearing in front of the judge, explain the procedures involved in filing a case, inform about additional court requirements, and MAY direct a person to other legal resources.
The Self Help Coordinator WILL NOT give legal advice or explain to a person their legal rights, represent a person in court, tell a person which forms to file, tell a person how to argue their case or the facts involved. Also:
Murphree Law Library
Alachua Co. Courthouse
201 E. University Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32601
Click here to send an e-mail to the Family Self-Help Coordinator
Information on filing a petition for Dissolution of Marriage
To obtain Dissolution of Marriage in the State of Florida, at least one of the parties must have been a resident of this state for a minimum of six (6) months prior to filing for Dissolution of Marriage. Although it is not necessary to have an attorney, prior to entering into any agreement or signing any pleading each party may wish to consult with an attorney to ensure that his or her rights are being protected. Also, to be advised of the legal and tax related consequences of signing any document.
Regular Dissolution of Marriage
This method of petitioning is required when you and your spouse have a dependant or minor child(ren) together or the wife is pregnant. Listed below are some terms with which you should become familiar with before you decide to petition without an attorney.
- Shared Parental Responsibility.
- Sole Parental Responsibility.
- Rotating Custody.
- Primary Residential Responsibility.
- Secondary Residential Responsibility.
- Reasonable Visitation.
- Specified Visitation.
- Supervised Visitation.
- No Contact.
Besides the custody questions listed above there is also the matter of Child Support to consider. There may also be the matters of Alimony, Marital and Non-marital assets. Law prohibits the Clerk’s Office from providing legal assistance or advice in these matters.
You will be required to complete a parenting course before a final hearing may be set. Failure to meet this requirement may cause the court to dismiss your case or order some other appropriate sanction. Information on this requirement will be given to you when you file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
If the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is contested by your spouse, and you are unable to settle the disputed issues, you will be required to use a court approved mediator to settle the disputed issues before a final hearing may be set.
For individuals wishing to file on their own behalf, there are Self-Help Forms Packets available for review and purchase at the Clerk’s Office for $10.00. Further assistance is available by contacting a Family Law Self Help Coordinator for the Eighth Judicial Circuit at the following:
- Call (352) 374-3694.
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is a simple, inexpensive legal procedure for couples who meet the following:
- Both agree that the marriage cannot be saved.
- There are no minor children together and the wife is not pregnant.
- Both parties must have agreed on how their property and debts are to be divided.
- You are not seeking support (alimony) from your spouse, and vice versa.
- Neither wish to have financial information other than provided in the financial affidavits.
- You are willing to give up your right to trial and appeal.
- You and your spouse are both willing to go into the clerk’s office to sign the petition.
- You and your spouse are both willing to go to the final hearing (at the same time).
The Clerk may assist with the preparation of all documents relating to Simplified Divorce. Both parties must sign the Petition for Dissolution. A Property Settlement Agreement may be prepared and both parties must sign the agreement. A Financial Affidavit must be completed and filed by each party. A certificate must be signed in the presence of the clerk or notary by a corroborating witness who knows that either the husband or the wife has lived in Florida for more than six (6) months before the date that the joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage was signed. You will not need a witness if you have a valid Florida Drivers License that is more than six (6) months old. The Clerk will schedule a hearing before the assigned judge and both parties are required to attend the hearing.
The filing fee for either type of dissolution is not refundable if the parties wish to reconcile and dismiss the Dissolution of Marriage.
Click here for more information from The Florida Bar Consumer Services
Information on filing Injunctions
In an emergency situation always call 911
Domestic Violence means an assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same dwelling unit. A family or household member includes spouse, former spouse, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together or have resided together in the past, and persons who have a child in common, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together.
Repeat Violence by a person against any other person defines Violence as TWO incidents of assault, battery, and stalking or sexual battery. One incident must have occurred within six (6) months of filing a petition. If you have genuine fear that violence will occur, you may be eligible for an injunction for protection. Call (352) 486-5266 Ext.255
If you need to go to an abuse shelter call
Guidelines for filing a Petition for Injunction
The Clerk’s Office will assist a victim with filing a Petition for Injunction Monday – Friday between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. After normal business hours, assistance is available by calling (352) 486-5111.
The Petition for Injunction and other paperwork must be prepared and sworn to by the petitioner and filed with the Clerk of the Court.
In order for the Court to make a decision in your case, the petition must contain specific facts and circumstances, including dates. The facts are used by the Court to determine if an immediate and present danger of domestic violence exists who would allow the Court to restrain the respondent without notice, pending a hearing.
You must describe any previous or pending attempts by you to obtain an Injunction for Protection or any other cause of action currently pending between you and the respondent in this or any other county or state and the results. If you require additional relief from the Court, you should complete the paragraphs in the petition pertaining to those sanctions. Other information required on the petition will aid law enforcement agencies in identifying and locating the respondent for service. YOU MAY KEEP YOUR ADDRESS CONFIDENTIAL IF YOU SO REQUEST.
The Clerk will require you to sign all documents under oath and you are subject to the penalty of perjury.
The Clerk will immediately forward your file to the assigned Judge. The Court will determine whether your petition meets the necessary criteria for issuance of a temporary injunction, and a hearing will be scheduled requiring both parties to appear before the Court.
Once the Judge has rendered a decision, all documents will be returned to the Clerk for processing. The Clerk will provide a certified copy of the Order and Notice of Hearing for you to keep on your person at all times. The Clerk will furnish a copy of the petition, financial affidavit, if any, uniform child custody affidavit, notice of hearing and temporary injunction, if any, to the Sheriff of the county where the respondent resides. The Sheriff will serve the respondent as soon thereafter as possible.
You are required to appear at the hearing to give testimony under oath regarding the exact circumstances of the alleged incident(s). Answer all questions completely. The Judge will also give the respondent the opportunity to testify under oath regarding the respondent’s recollection of the alleged incident. The hearing will determine whether a cause of action exists for the Court to enter a permanent injunction based on the testimony of the parties under oath.
You will be provided with a copy of the appropriate order promptly after the hearing. This should be kept on your person at all times.
The Clerk’s Office will provide the appropriate forms should there be a need for you to modify, extend or enforce the provisions contained in the injunction.
Click here for more information from The Florida Bar Consumer Services