Getting a divorce in Orlando, Part 2
9th Judicial Circuit Court has helpful info & links
In Part 1, we discussed the role of the attorney and the idea of considering grief counseling, plus the need to urgently address domestic violence if that is part of your family equation. Today we'll look at various requirements for filing and information about your local court.
According Florida statute 62.021, "To obtain a dissolution of marriage, one of the parties to the marriage must reside 6 months in the state before the filing of the petition." Military personnel who have been stationed in Florida for six months also qualify as Florida residents.
Some proof of residency will be required, most commonly a Florida driver's license (or other state-issued ID) that's at least six months' old. In lieu of such ID, a third-party affidavit can suffice. For military personnel, evidence includes homeownership, vehicle registration and voter registration.
Circuit court is where "dissolution of marriage" is administered. However, unlike states in which a petition can be filed in the county where either spouse resides, the proper venue in Florida is the county in which the marriage is said to have become "irretrievably broken." For example, you and your spouse realize the relationship has run its course and so one spouse moves away and relocates in another county. Regardless of who files the original petition, since you still live in Orange County, the proper venue is the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court (which also serves Osceola).
But let's say the spouse that moved files in another circuit court. Is it automatically rejected? No--you (or your attorney, of course) must file a motion with the other court, either:
- to dismiss the case, or
- to transfer it to the ninth circuit court.
Without that motion, you will be deemed to have waived privilege for venue.
Once on the circuit court's site, you can access Family Court Case Management, which explains its role thusly:
The primary function of the "Family Court Services" (FCS) Department is to provide non-legal assistance to "pro se" parties who have filed for a divorce or a name change and to case manage those particular cases. Pursuant to Administrative Order 07-94-53, "pro se" petitioners in divorce and name change cases are required to have their initial paperwork stamped by the FCS prior to filing with the Domestic Clerk's office. After filing, the case is assigned to one of FCS's Court Specialists, who, under the direction of the staff attorney, then is available to assist the petitioner to the conclusion of his\her case.
This can be a great help, especially if you and your soon-to-be former spouse agree on everything such that you have an uncontested divorce. However, remember, help from court staff can NOT include actual legal advice.
If nothing else, read this
That being said, from that page, you can also find a link to an information brochure, What to Expect...Divorce in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.
This is a very good document. Regardless of whether you decide to hire an experienced attorney or attempt instead to try your luck as a pro se litigant, this e-brochure is a must-read. If nothing else, it will help you frame questions from the mindset of looking back on all this turmoil, years from now, when the anger and hurt has subsided. Surely, you, your spouse, and most important...your children...deserve some wisdom in a trying time.
No matter your marital situation, we can help. If you're ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.