Family Law

The Family Law division of the Clerk’s Office is responsible for the customer service, review, processing, data entry and calendaring of legal documents pertaining to all family law related cases. Family law has jurisdiction over domestic relation matters such as:

  • Dissolution of marriage or annulments
  • Domestic violence, repeat violence, stalking, and sexual violence injunctions
  • Adoptions
  • Emancipation of a minor
  • Paternity
  • Change of name
  • Request for injunction
  • Child or spousal support
  • Temporary custody and custodial care
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Department of Children and Family CINS/FINS
  • Juvenile delinquency and truancy
  • Foreign judgments

Generally, the Clerk’s Office is not permitted to give legal advice on which forms to use or how to complete forms. Certain forms or form packets are available in our office for a fee. For your convenience, additional information concerning forms, family laws and opinions may be found at https://www.flcourts.org/Resources-Services/Court-Improvement/Family-Courts and https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/

Domestic Violence

The Clerk of Court shall provide clerical assistance for the preparation and filing of a temporary injunction for protection against abuse by any person who is not represented by counsel. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office at 850-745-7100. You may also want to contact Refuge House at 850-926-9005 or https://refugehouse.com/ for assistance with temporary shelter. Domestic Violence forms can be found at https://www.flcourts.org/Resources-Services/Court-Improvement/Family-Courts/Family-Law-Self-Help-Information/Family-Law-Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find an attorney?
The Florida Bar is able to provide legal referrals. You can contact the Florida Bar at 850-561-5600 or at https://www.floridabar.org/ . Click on the “Find a Lawyer” button then click on the “Lawyer Referral Service Site” link.

What if I can’t afford an attorney?
Legal assistance may be available to you by visiting https://www.flcourts.org/Resources-Services/Court-Improvement/Family-Courts/Family-Law-Self-Help-Information/Legal-Aid.  Law firms sometimes provide “pro-bono” legal services and the Clerk’s Office co-ordinates a legal clinic every month at the Courthouse. For more information on how to sign up for the legal clinic, please call 850-926-0300.

Can I represent myself in court?
Yes, you may represent yourself in court (called “Pro Se”) but you must understand family law cases are governed by the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure which must be followed (https://www-media.floridabar.org/uploads/2018/06/RJA-7-1-18.pdf). Additionally, there are rules of court which must be followed (https://www.floridabar.org/rules/ctproc/).  As in all matters involving the law, if you do not feel fully comfortable or qualified to represent yourself, you may want to consider obtaining the services of a competent lawyer. Click Here for Turbo Court Self Help

Do I need an attorney to file an injunction for protection against domestic violence?
No. If you, your child or someone you care about is a victim of abuse, you may apply for a “Temporary Injunction for Protection” from the Court. An injunction for protection, also referred to as a restraining order, is a court order which places restrictions on a person who has committed acts of violence against another person as defined below. The Injunction for Protection may include, but is not limited to, provisions which restrain the abuser from further acts of violence; order the abuser to leave your household; prevent the abuser from coming to your home, school, business, or place of employment; award custody of minor children and order the abuser to pay support. Completed paperwork will be accepted at the Family Law division of the Clerk’s Office until 5:00 pm. Emergency cases after 5:00 p.m. should be referred to Wakulla County Sheriff’s Department (850-745-7100).

Are Juvenile Dependency records confidential?
Yes. All records related to Juvenile Dependency cases are confidential and can only be seen by a parent, legal guardian and/or the child with proper picture identification. Court appointed and private attorneys also have access to these court files only if they have filed their notice of appearance in the particular case. The Clerk’s Office does not give information over the telephone since access to these records requires proper identification. Anyone wishing specific information regarding a dependency case must come in to the office with proper picture identification.

Are Adoption cases confidential?
Yes. Adoptions are confidential. All papers and records pertaining to the adoption, including the original birth certificate, are confidential and subject to inspection only upon order of the court.

Who can file a Paternity case?
Paternity cases can be filed by any woman who is pregnant or has a child, any man who has reason to believe that he is/is not the father of a child, or any child may bring proceedings in the Circuit Court to determine paternity when paternity has not been established by law or otherwise.

If you have a question please contact our office at (850) 926-0318.