Unified Family Court

The Florida Supreme Court, in In Re: Report of the Family Court Steering Committee, 94 So.2d 518 (Fla. 2001), (“Family Courts IV”), directed each Circuit to submit revised local rules, or an Administrative Order, implementing a Unified Family Court consistent with its approved recommendations. The Florida Supreme Court further directed each Circuit to make every effort to resolve family disputes in a fair, timely, efficient and cost effective manner.

The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit is desirous of assisting litigants with cases involving family issues to avoid conflicting decisions and minimize inconvenience to the family and of maximizing all resources readily available to assist with resolving familial related case litigation. The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit seeks to facilitate open and effective communication between judges, court staff, attorneys and social service providers and to better serve the litigants.

The Unified Family Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit includes the following case types: dissolution of marriage; division and distribution of property arising out of a dissolution of marriage; annulment; support unconnected with dissolution of marriage; paternity; disestablishment of paternity; child support; URESA/UIFSA; custodial care of and access to children; proceedings for temporary or concurrent custody of minor children by extended family; adoption; name change; declaratory judgment actions related to premarital, marital, or post marital agreements; civil domestic, repeat, sexual and dating violence injunctions; juvenile dependency; termination of parental rights; emancipation of a minor; CINS/FINS; truancy; modification and enforcement of orders entered in these cases; juvenile delinquency; criminal domestic violence; stalking; cyber stalking; all mental health and guardianship cases, including but not limited to Petition for Determination of Incapacity and Petition for Appointment of Guardian; Marchman Act; and Baker Act.

Two or more of these cases, constitute a “related case” when any of the parties are either presently or were ever previously involved in litigation.

For detail information, you may review Administrative Order 5.101

The Unified Family Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit consist of the following divisions:

Family Court is a division of the Circuit Court that holds jurisdiction over all domestic relations matters including but not limited to adoptions, domestic violence, divorce, child support, custody, alimony, time-sharing and related matters.
Juvenile Court is the Division of the Circuit Court that holds jurisdiction over dependency and juvenile delinquency matters.
Probate Court is a division of the Circuit Court that holds jurisdiction over all matters relating to the validity and execution of wills, appointment of guardians, trusts, incompetencies (Baker Act), involuntary treatment of alcoholics (Marchman Act), and involuntary commitments not related to the Baker or Marchman Acts.
Domestic Violence Court is comprised of Circuit Judges, County Criminal Court Judges who preside over domestic violence cases include domestic violence petitions, repeat violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking, violation of injunction cases, and criminal misdemeanor cases.
The Florida State Family Court Steering Committee, working under the direction of the Florida Supreme Court, recommended the establishment of a Family Law Advisory Group (FLAG) in each circuit.