Addressing domestic violence, plus a guide to Pinellas County Circuit Court
Something I left out from “Divorce in Florida” is worthy of mention here: Family experts and legal authorities agree that if your situation involves domestic violence, you (or your children and pets) could be in imminent danger, so you need to address this problem first.
Addressing domestic violence–immediately
That’s not say one should delay in looking for a grief counselor or family therapist, and neither does that mean to put off retaining an experienced trained divorce attorney who is familiar not only with the latest Florida statutes but also with the rules, customs and judges your local court system. In fact, a good attorney can help with both, by providing useful references to proven therapists and, in the case of domestic violence, with filing restraining/protective orders and helping craft an exit strategy that includes safe, temporary shelter.
Florida and the city of “St, Pete” as well as Pinellas County all offer residents agencies and facilities that can help with domestic violence, including these online resources:
- Florida Department of Children & Families;
- Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence;
- A.A.R.D.V.A.R.C.’S page, Florida: Domestic Violence Resources;
Saint Petersburg/Pinellas County
Attorney General ==> Victim Assistance Unit, Saint Petersburg Police Department;
Attorney General ==> Victim Assistance Unit, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office;
Venue for filing
In Pinellas County, given you meet the state residency requirements, you (or your attorney) will file your paperwork with the Clerk of the Circuit Court:
Types of divorce actions
The Clerk’s office provides links to both
Simplified divorce is described as perhaps appropriate when:
- You or your spouse have been a resident of the State of Florida for at least the past six (6) months.
- You and your spouse are both able to appear at the Clerk of the Court’s Office to both file the necessary forms to initiate the divorce action and to attend the final hearing in person.
- There are no children together born before or during the marriage, including by adoption, and the Wife, to her knowledge, is not pregnant as of the date the action is filed.
- You and your spouse are in agreement on how property, assets and debts are to be divided.
General divorce is described as perhaps appropriate when:
- You have been a resident of the State of Florida for at least the past six months.
- Your spouse resides out of state or you do not know your spouse’s whereabouts.
- There is a minor (under age 18) or dependent child of the marriage or the Wife is pregnant.
- You and your spouse cannot agree on how property, assets and debts are to be divided.
- There is a need for spousal support (alimony).
Miscellaneous but helpful information
The clerk’s site also includes links to fees that were imposed by the Legislature effective June 1, 2009 and July 1, 2009. “Forms, information and assistance are available from the the Clerk’s Self Help Centers for a fee.”
The Clerk’s office also emphasizes:
DEPUTY CLERKS CANNOT GIVE YOU ADVICE on your rights and obligations. Divorce can be a complicated area of the law. If you have any questions or concerns, you should consider contacting an attorney.
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.
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