Family Law

Family Law matters include, but are not limited to, matters arising from dissolution of marriage, annulment, paternity, child support, custodial care of or access to children, adoption, and injunctions for protection, and all proceedings for modification, enforcement and civil contempt of these actions.

  • Dissolution of Marriage
  • Child Support
  • Domestic Violence

Although child support matters are filed in the Family Law Division, any inquiries regarding payment or non payment of support should be directed to the Child Support Division
Forms and Information available at:
http://www.flcourts.org

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

To obtain a 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 months prior to filing the Petition 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 and to be advised of the legal and tax related consequences of signing any document.

When you file for a dissolution of marriage, the action becomes public record, and the information is available to the general public. Newspapers, in accordance with their policies, may or may not print this information.

There are two types of marriage dissolutions:

  • Standard Dissolution of Marriage
  • Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

STANDARD DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

The filing fee for a regular Dissolution of Marriage is $363.00 ($408.00 as of July 1, 2008) and is not refundable if the parties wish to reconcile and dismiss the dissolution. If you and your spouse cannot afford to pay the filing fees, and qualify as Indigent, you may be eligible for a payment plan. Upon request, the Clerk’s Office will provide you with the supplemental forms to request indigency and payment plan.

Regular Dissolutions of Marriage are usually filed with the advice and assistance of an attorney. In some instances, individuals do file for a dissolution of marriage without an attorney. For individuals wishing to file on their own behalf, forms are available for review and purchase at the Clerk’s Office locations as follows: St. Johns County Courthouse, and Courthouse Annexes at Ponte Vedra, and Julington Creek, as well as online at http://www.flcourts.org.

The Clerk’s Office is prohibited by law from providing legal assistance or advice in these matters, however a there is a Self Help co-coordinator located in the St. Johns County Courthouse who can assist you with forms and questions about filing a case.

SIMPLIFIED DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

A Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is a simple legal procedure dissolving a marriage for couples that meet the eligibility requirements.

You may file a simplified dissolution of marriage in Florida if all of the following are true:

  • You and/or your spouse have lived in Florida for at least 6 months before filing for a dissolution in Florida.

  • You and your spouse agree that the marriage cannot be saved.

  • You and your spouse have no minor or dependent child(ren) together and the wife is not now pregnant.

  • You and your spouse have worked out how the two of you will divide the things that you both own (your assets) and who will pay what part of the money you both owe (your liabilities), and you are both satisfied with this division.

  • You are not seeking support (alimony) from your spouse, and vice versa.

  • Neither you nor your spouse wish to have any financial information other than that 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 (not necessarily together).

You and your spouse are both willing to go to the final hearing (at the same time).

If you do not meet the criteria above, you must file a regular petition for dissolution of marriage. Parties will be placed under oath, and each of you must sign the petition in the presence of a deputy clerk (in the clerk’s office), or a notary Public. You will need to provide picture identification (valid driver’s license or official identification card) for the clerk or notary to witness your signatures.

You must prove to the court that the husband and/or wife has/have lived in Florida for more than 6 months before filing the petition for dissolution of marriage. Residence can be proved by:

  • A valid Florida driver’s license, Florida identification card, or voter registration card issued to one of you at least 6 months prior to filing for dissolution of marriage; or

  • The testimony of another person who knows that either you or your spouse has resided in Florida for more than 6 months and is available to testify in court; or

  • An affidavit. To prove residence by affidavit, use an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness. Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.902(i). This form must be signed by a person who knows that either you or your spouse has lived in Florida for more than 6 months before the date that you filed the petition for dissolution of marriage. This affidavit may be signed in the presence of the clerk of the court or in the presence of a notary public, who must affix his or her seal at the proper place on the affidavit.

The filing fee for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is $363.00 ($408.00 as of July 1, 2008) payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court. If you and your spouse cannot afford to pay the filing fees, and qualify as Indigent, you may be eligible for a payment plan. Upon request, the Clerk’s Office will provide you with the supplemental forms to request Indigency and payment plan.

Please note that the filing fee is not refundable should the parties wish to reconcile and dismiss the case. Failure to appear at the hearing by either or both of the parties may result in dismissal of the case.