A Dissolution of Marriage is an action to terminate the contract of marriage. Jurisdiction lies in the Family Law Division. These matters are governed by the laws of the State of Florida (Florida Statutes) and the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure. In addition to dissolving the marriage contract, the court may determine the division of property and responsibility for debts and the care and custody of children. In general, parties wishing to obtain a divorce should contact their attorney.
Other family law cases include child and spousal support, adoptions, paternity, change of name, child custody, separate maintenance, and annulment.
The Family Law Division is located on the second floor of the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center, 1769 E. Moody Blvd, Bldg 1, Bunnell, FL 32110. Our office hours are Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We can be contacted by telephone at 386-313-4491 or send us a message via our contact form.
Filing fees: Dissolution of Marriage: $408.00, plus any fees applicable listed below.
Other Family Cases have a $300.00 or $400.00 filing fee, depending on what type of case it is, also with any fees applicable that are listed below.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need to be a resident of Florida?
To obtain dissolution of marriage in the State of Florida, at least one of the parties must have been a resident of this State for a minimum of six months prior to filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
- What types of marriage dissolutions are there?
- There are two basic of marriage dissolutions:
- Standard Dissolution of Marriage (which may or may not include children or property.)
- Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (no children or property and both parties must sign the petition and both must appear in court.)
- Are there forms available for marriage dissolution?
Family Law forms are available in our office for $.15 per page. These forms are also available online at www.flcourts.org under Self Help- Family Law Forms. For questions regarding forms, call the Court Program Specialist within the 7th Judicial Circuit’s Office of Court Administration at 386-313-4550, or visit that office located on the second floor of the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center.
- I have received the forms. What is the next step?
Fill out the forms and have them notarized; or you can be sworn in by a deputy clerk at the time of filing for a fee of $3.50 per signature. Both parties’ mailing addresses and/or email addresses are required. A vital statistics form which the clerk can provide must be completed for Dissolution cases.
- What about a summons?
The Clerk can prepare a summons for a $7.00 fee. To issue a summons, the fee is $10.00. Copies of your petition are needed for service. You can make copies before filing, or the Clerk can provide copies for a fee of $1.00 per page. The burden is upon the petitioner to see that proper service is performed. The Flagler County Sheriff’s civil process division can be contacted at 386-313-4340 for further information. If the person to be served resides outside of Flagler County, then the petitioner must get the summons service packet to that Sheriff’s office and pay their required fee. Once service has been effected, it is the petitioner’s responsibility to ensure the Clerk’s Office receives the verified return of service.
- Is there any other type of service?
Under certain circumstances service can be made by publication. These forms are also available at the Supreme Court Family Law Self Help website. The Court Program Specialist can tell you which forms you need to effect this kind of service and if you meet the criteria to publish. An affidavit of diligent search must be submitted before the Clerk can process. The petitioner also provides the notice of action for the Clerk to issue, a copy of the petition and a stamped envelope to be mailed to the respondent to the last known address. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to take the notice to the Flagler Palm Coast News Tribune or the Palm Coast Observer and arrange for payment of the publication of the notice.
- When does the Clerk issue a default?
Proof of service of a summons or a Proof of Publication from the newspaper must be filed and the time period for the respondent to answer must be completed before the Clerk can issue a default. If the respondent files an answer or any document into the case, no default will be issued.
- When will my case be set for a hearing?
- The Court’s Case Manager reviews all new dissolution cases and upon review of the case, an Order of Referral to the General Magistrate will be issued (a notice of hearing will come from the General Magistrate’s office) or a date before the presiding judge will be set. This process can take 30 – 90 days.
- The petitioner is responsible to move their case to a final status.
What happens when my case goes before the General Magistrate?
If the hearing is before the General Magistrate, you will need to bring your Florida driver license. At the hearing the General Magistrate takes testimony of the parties. The General Magistrate can, if needed, continue the hearing, set the case for mediation, or prepare a Report and Recommendation for the Judge’s review. If a Final Judgement is recommended and approved, the Judge will sign your Final Judgment of Dissolution. The Clerk will then forward copies of the Final Judgment to the parties either by mail or to their email address if provided.
Many institutions DO NOT accept a regular or conformed copy to change a name, etc. If you need a certified copy of the Final Judgment, you can obtain it from the Clerk of Court for $1.00 per page plus $2.00 for certification.
- How can I access information about cases filed in Flagler County.
You may access the public computers located in the Courts Division in the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center, second floor. Upon request, the Clerk’s Office will research a case for a fee of $2.00 per year per name researched.
- What other information is available:
Please be advised that the Clerk of Court may give you information about the status of your case, but we may not give legal advice. If you are representing yourself as an attorney, you are burdened with the responsibility to bring your case to Final Judgment. Any case can potentially encounter situations that will delay or affect the final outcome.
For your convenience, additional information concerning Florida family laws and opinions may be found at the following website: www.flcourts.org. Family law forms may be found at the following website: FLCourts.org Forms Page. (When you connect with this site, choose “Self – Help Center” from the list at the left-hand side of the screen. Then choose “Family Law Forms”.) The Florida Supreme Court website may be found at www.floridasupremecourt.org.
Please note that the filing fee is not refundable should the parties wish to reconcile and dismiss the case. Failure to appear at the hearing by either or both of the parties may result in dismissal of the case.