Family Law

General Information

This page will give you helpful information about The Family Law Department of the Clerk’s Office. We hope you find it of value. Our department deals with the following types of family-law cases:

  • Divorces and Annulments* (Dissolution of Marriage)
  • Legal separations
  • Adoptions
  • Name changes
  • Paternity

The Family Law Department will be glad to offer customer service for the filing of a wide variety legal documents. We do this both over the telephone at (904) 255-2000 and in person at our office. Our address is listed below.

You also may find it helpful to visit the Family Court Services office before any filing or modifications and for any information on court dates. The office is located in room 2150 of the Duval County Courthouse. We ask you to bear in mind that, due to legal restrictions, the Clerk’s Office cannot provide legal advice. Those needing legal assistance with family-law matters may want to consider speaking with an attorney.

*You must contact an attorney for information on Annulments
**You must contact Family Court Services (904) 255-1060, Room 2150, Duval County Courthouse

Petitions for Dissolution of Marriage

To start a divorce proceeding, you must file the court forms pertaining to your situation. See the Fees section, below, for the current filing fee and accepted forms of payment. Again, please note that the Clerk’s Office is prohibited from giving legal advice or any assistance with the completion of forms.

Instructions and Process

When completing the forms, please include your name, address, email and telephone number on every document you file. The forms need to be completed, signed and notarized where applicable.

Simple Divorce

If you’re filing for a simplified dissolution, please note that all of the following requirements must be met. Both parties must sign the forms and appear before the judge for the final hearing.

Requirements:

  • You must have no children, including adopted or dependent children, less than 18 years old.
  • The wife must not be pregnant.
  • At least one party must have lived in Florida for the past six months.
  • You must have made provisions for the division of your property and the payment of your obligations and be satisfied with them.
  • You both must have signed the joint petition and all other papers needed to carry out this procedure and have paid the required fees to the Clerk’s Office.
  • You both must want to end the marriage because of serious permanent differences.
  • You both must have agreed to use the simplified Dissolution-of-Marriage procedure rather than a regular dissolution.
  • You both must be aware of the following facts: After the dissolution becomes final, neither party has any right to expect money or support from the other, except for what is included in the property-settlement agreement.
  • By choosing the simplified dissolution of marriage procedure, you must be aware that you are giving up certain legal rights you would have if you had used the regular dissolution procedure.

Regular Divorce

If you do not meet the requirements to file a Simple Divorce, above, you must file a Regular Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage).

The Dissolution of Marriage applies if:

  • The couple has a dependent minor child together
  • The wife is pregnant
  • One spouse is not in agreement with the divorce

Of course, other legal issues and tax-related consequences might affect your actions. For these reasons, you may choose to hire an attorney to represent you in this type of case.

If you decide to represent yourself in these matters, be aware that you will be required to prepare your own legal documents and otherwise proceed according to Florida law and rules of court.

If the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is contested by either spouse and the issues cannot be resolved, both sides will have to attend a mediation hearing.

Divorces Involving Minor Children

If you have a dependent minor child, you should know that both parties are required to attend a parent-education course. Once both parties have completed the course and their certificates have been turned in, you will be able to schedule a final hearing. The parties are responsible for the course fees.

Paternity  

Establishing the paternity of a child means finding out who the father is. Doing this may require scientific testing (Florida Statutes 742.12). If you want to determine the paternity of a child, you may file a case with the Clerk’s Office. Just keep in mind that the paternity case must be handled in the circuit court where the Petitioner resides or in the county where the Respondent resides.

The court will decide any paternity issues and will determine the ability of a spouse to support the child. In addition, other fees or costs may be awarded. These can include medical, hospital/childbirth expenses, or attorney fees. The court may also order an appropriate parenting plan and time-sharing schedule.

Parties may be required to submit to scientific testing to show a probability of paternity and to attend a Putting Children First Course (see Florida Statute 742.12).

Name Change

To change your name outside of marriage or divorce (if not stated in divorce decree), you must file a petition for change of name. This petition must be filed in the county of the petitioner's or family’s residence. See the Fees section, below, for the current filing fee and accepted payments. It is important to include your name, address and telephone number on every document you file with the court. The Clerk’s Office is prevented by law from offering legal advice. If you think you need legal assistance, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney.

Before the final court hearing, you’ll need to have a set of fingerprints taken by the Sheriff's Office to be used for a criminal history background check. If the name change is for a minor, the fingerprints of both parents, not the minor, must be taken and submitted.

Electronic Fingerprinting Process

As mentioned above, before a hearing can be scheduled for your case, you must have your fingerprints scanned. This can be done either by a law-enforcement agency like the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office or by another Livescan fingerprinting service provider authorized to submit fingerprints electronically.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is located in the Police Memorial Building (Public Counter) at 501 East Bay Street. Contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for more information on the electronic fingerprinting process.

Other Family Issues

Other family-law cases handled by our office include the following:

  • Adoptions
  • Annulment of a marriage (you must contact an attorney for information).
  • Termination of parental rights proceedings pursuant to Section 63.087, Florida Statutes

Please note that we treat all adoptions and termination of parental rights as confidential. All records regarding the adoption, including the original birth certificate, are confidential and subject to inspection only by court order.

Viewing Case Information Online

As a procedural note, every document filed in a case will be entered into the Case Docket. For your convenience, case information can be accessed online through the Clerk Online Resource ePortal (CORE). If you have questions or concerns about CORE, we invite you to email the CORE Helpdesk at CORE@duvalclerk.com. Please note that you must register to use CORE.

e-Filing

Electronic filing (e-Filing) is now required for attorneys in Florida. For more information about e-filing, please visit the E-filing Portal. If you need assistance getting started, please feel free to email the Clerk’s Office at efiling@duvalclerk.com. 

Family Court Services

Family law forms can also be found at Family Court Services Department, Room 2150 of the Duval County Courthouse.

Self-help forms can be downloaded from the Family Court Services or https://www.flcourts.org/.

IMPORTANT: Confidential Information within Court Filings

Please be advised that the Florida Supreme Court has substantially amended Rule 2.420 (Public Access to Judicial Branch Records) in SC11-2466. The Rule involves procedures regarding confidentiality of Court records and requires filers to notify the Clerk of confidential information contained in any filings. The amendment was effective May 1, 2013 and may be accessed at the following website link.

Please take special notice that the Court may impose sanctions under Rule 2.420 (i) for non-compliance.

For your convenience, an interactive form for providing notice of confidential information within court filings is available by following the link below.

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Fees

Family Law - Fee Schedule  *Fees include admin fee*
Fee Description Amount w/o Summons With Summons
Administrative Fee (including Indigent) $12.00  
Dissolution of Marriage (including annulments) $421.00 $431.00
Counter-petition - Dissolution of Marriage $295.00 $305.00
Adoptions (includes sealing of court file) $455.00 $465.00
Emergency Child Pick Up Orders $301.00 (new case)
$50.00 (ext. case)
 
Name Change $413.00 $423.00
Foreign Judgment (Dissolution) $463.00 $473.00
Foreign Judgment (Custody) $455.00 $465.00
Foreign Judgment (Paternity) $355.00 $365.00
Foreign Judgment (Support) $355.00 $365.00
Paternity Actions $313.00 $323.00
Petition for Delayed Birth Certificate $413.00
Petition to Establish Timesharing Only $12.00 $32.00 (two summons: DOR/Ind.)
Petition to Establish Parental Responsibility & Time Sharing $313.00 $323.00
Petition for Temporary Custody $413.00 $423.00
Petition to Ratify $313.00 $323.00
Petition to Ratify $313.00 $323.00
Petition for Termination of Parental Rights $455.00  
Petition Superseding Child Support - other relief (Modification) $313.00 $333.00 (two summons: DOR/Ind.)
Reopen Family Law or Civil Actions $50.00 $60.00 (one summons)
$70.00 (two summons: DOR/Ind.)
Mediation (combined income $0 - $49,999) - per person/per session $60.00  
Mediation (combined income $50,000 & above) - per person/per session $120.00  
Summons (per issuance) $10.00  
Subpoena (per issuance) $2.00  
Notice of Action (per issuance) $10.00  
Certified Copies $1.00 per page + $2.00 certify  
Copies $1.00 per page  
Sheriff Service Fee $40.00 per summons  
Copies $1.00 per page  

*For your convenience, additional information concerning Florida family laws, opinions and forms may be found at www.flcourts.org. The Florida Supreme Court website may be found at www.floridasupremecourt.org

Frequently Asked Questions

General

How do I modify or enforce my divorce final judgment?

Self-help forms can be downloaded from the FlCourts.org Family Law Forms website. If you need additional help, you can research the process at your local library, at the FlCourts.org Self Help website, you may seek the advice of an attorney.

How do I get a divorce without an attorney? Where can I get forms for dissolution?

You may file for a Dissolution of Marriage without an attorney. Self-help forms can be downloaded from Family Court Services. You can learn more about the procedure by researching it at your local library, or at the FlCourts.org Self Help website.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

Section 61.19, Florida Statutes, states that no final judgment of dissolution may be entered until at least 20 days have elapsed from the date of filing the original petition. Please consult the statutes for further information.

I live in another county. Can I file a divorce in Duval County?

Yes, as long as you meet the residency requirement. Section 61.021 Florida Statutes states "To obtain a dissolution of marriage, one of the parties to the marriage must reside in the State of Florida for six months before the filing of the petition."

How can I obtain a copy of my final judgment?

You can request your copy of the judgment either in person or in writing, please contact the Official Records and Research Department.

Is there a legal-aid service available to me?

Yes. The Legal Aid Service in Duval County is available by contacting:

Jacksonville Area Legal Aide (JALA)

126 West Adams Street

Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: (904) 356-8371

 

Do you have a list of providers for the parent education class?

Yes. Parent classes are available through at:

Hope Haven Children’s Clinic and Family Center

4600 Beach Blvd.

Jacksonville, FL 32207

Phone: (904) 346-5100

First Coast Behavior Solutions

Email: parenting.fcsb@gmail.com

Phone: (904) 200-7979

Jewish Family & Community Services

Email: coparenting@jfcsjax.org

Phone: (904) 394-5865

When do I get a court date?

You will be assigned a court date once all of your papers have been completed and filed. If you have served the other party via Summons, the Family Law Department must have the Original Summons and the Return of Service filed. The person that was served the documents has a total of 20 calendars days (excluding holidays) to respond to the court in writing. This 20 day period begins the day after the party is served and lasts until 5:00 p.m. on the 20th day. If that person does not respond within the time frame, you will need to file a Non-Military Affidavit and a Motion for Default with the court, and you will then be able to request a court date.

Is there anyone that can help me fill out forms?

You may contact Family Court Services at (904)255-1060.

I paid the filing fee to have my case opened, and now I have decided that I don't want to go through with it. How can I get my money back?

All fees, including the filing fees, are non-refundable.  

How can I attend a hearing by telephone?

File a motion with the Court to appear by phone. That motion will be forwarded to the Judge who is hearing your case. The Court will issue an order either granting or denying your motion.  

I do not have the money to file my case. Can the filing fee be waived?

If you are unable to pay the filing fee(s) for the case, you may complete an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status, available in the Family Law Department. There is no fee for the form. If you are determined to be indigent, the filing fee(s) will be waived. However, the $12.00 administration fee is still applied.

Name Change Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change my name when it is not related to a divorce action?

  • You must file a Petition for Change of Name (Minors, Adult or Family) that can be obtained In person at any Clerk location or online at www.flcourts.org
  • INCLUDE YOUR NAME, ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER ON EVERY DOCUMENT YOU FILE WITH THE COURT.
  • You may choose to hire an attorney.
  • You must pay a filling fee; see the Fees section, above, for the current amount.
  • Before the final court hearing, you are required to include a set of fingerprints taken by an authorized provider, which will then be used for a criminal history background check.

Do I need to file a separate name-change petition for each person in my family?

No. All names can be changed by completing one form. This should be completed as part of your case.

Is the fee for the criminal history background check included in the filing fee?

No.

Paternity Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do to establish paternity and related relief?

You must file a petition to ask the court to establish paternity, a parenting plan, time-sharing schedule and/or support of a minor child. You may purchase the forms at any Clerk's office. Please contact us at the number below for more information.

Office Information

Family Law Department

Office Hours

Monday through Friday (excluding holidays): 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Mailing Address

Duval County Clerk of Courts

Attn: FAMILY LAW DEPARTMENT

501 West Adams Street, Room 2474

Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone

(904) 255-2000

Contact the Family Law department

Email:
Name:
Phone:
Case / Reference #:
Subject:
Message
 

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.