Pursuant to Florida  Statute  61.21 cases  involving children  (Dissolution of Marriage with children and Paternity) must  complete  a  parenting  class. Both parents must take the course. The class offers  a guidance for making the best choices for the children during this stressful time.

The course in not offered in person in the Third Judicial Circuit.

Parent Education and Family Stabilization Court- lnternetClasses:
www.videoparentingcourse.com (also in Spanish)

Once you have completed the course you will be given a certificate. A copy must be filed in the court file prior to the final hearing.

To obtain a 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 6 months prior to filing for Dissolution of Marriage. Although it is not necessary to have an attorney, prior to entering into any agreement or signing any pleading each party may wish to consult with an attorney to ensure that his or her rights are being protected and to be advised of the legal and tax related consequences of signing any document.

Regular Dissolution of Marriage
This method of petitioning is required when you and your spouse have a dependant or minor child(ren) together or the wife is pregnant. Listed below are some terms with which you should become familiar with before you decide to petition without an attorney.

  • Shared Parental Responsibility
  • Sole Parental Responsibility.
  • Rotating Custody.
  • Primary Residential Responsibility.
  • Secondary Residential Responsibility.
  • Reasonable Visitation.
  • Specified Visitation.
  • Supervised Visitation.
  • No Contact.

Besides the custody questions listed above there is also the matter of Child Support to consider. There may also be the matters of Alimony, Marital and Nonmarital assets. The Clerk’s Office is prohibited by law from providing legal assistance or advise in these matters.

You will be required to complete a parenting course before a final hearing may be set. Failure to meet this requirement may cause the court to dismiss your case or order some other appropriate sanction. Information on this requirement will be given to you when you file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

If the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is contested by your spouse, and you are unable to settle the disputed issues, you will be required to use a court approved mediator to settle the disputed issues before a final hearing may be set.

For individuals wishing to file on their own behalf, there are Self Help Forms Packets available for review and purchase at the Clerk’s Office. Further assistance is available by contacting a Family Law Self Help Coordinator for the Third Judicial Circuit at the following:

  • Call (386) 719-2021.

Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
A Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is a simple, inexpensive legal procedure for couples who meet the following:

  • Both agree that the marriage cannot be saved.
  • There are no minor children together and the wife is not pregnant.
  • Both parties must have agreed on how their property and debts are to be divided.
  • You are not seeking support (alimony) from your spouse, and vice versa.
  • Neither wishes to have financial information other than provided in the financial affidavits.
  • You are willing to give up your right to trial and appeal.
  • You and your spouse are both willing to go into the clerk’s office to sign the petition.
  • You and your spouse are both willing to go to the final hearing (at the same time).

The Clerk may assist with the preparation of all documents relating to Simplified Divorce.
Both parties must sign the Petition for Dissolution. A Property Settlement Agreement may be prepared and both parties must sign the agreement. A Financial Affidavit must be completed and filed by each party. A certificate must be signed in the presence of the clerk or notary by a corroborating witness who knows that either the husband or the wife has lived in Florida for more than six (6) months before the date that the joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage was signed. You will not need a witness if you have a valid Florida Drivers License that is more than six (6) months old. The Clerk will schedule a hearing before the assigned judge and both parties are required to attend the hearing.

The filing fee for either type of dissolution is not refundable if the parties wish to reconcile and dismiss the Dissolution of Marriage.


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