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Family Division FAQ's - Contents
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Adoptions - FD top
I want to adopt a child. How are Adoptions processed?

  • The Self-Help Coordinator can only assist with step-parent adoptions.
  • To proceed with all other types of adoptions, customers must contact a private
    attorney or research information on adopting a child to create and prepare their
    own documents.
  • Note: All adoptions are confidential. The Clerk's office cannot give legal advice.
Child Support - FD top
What do I do if I am up-to-date on my child support payments, but I receive a delinquency notice?

You will need to:

  • Come into the Family Division and request a child support payment history printout.
  • Using the payment history, look to see if there are any discrepancies where a
    payment was made but not accounted for.
  • After finding and marking the error, fill out an audit request. The child support
    Clerk will conduct an audit on your case.
  • We will inform Department of Revenue of the audit and compare with their balance
    in order to correct any discrepancies.
Who do I contact if the non-custodial parent/ex-spouse is not paying their child support?

IF the parties are contracted through the Department of Revenue:

  • Contact that office for enforcement

The motion will be sent to the appropriate judge and then his office will set it for a hearing.

Do you accept child support payments at the courthouse?

The Family Division can only process court ordered purge payments on the day of court. All
other payments must be made through:

State of Florida Disbursement Unit

PO Box 8500

Tallahassee, FL 32314-8500

You may also pay on-line at

When sending payments, please include your Social Security number, case number and name
of party receiving the child support payment.

Domestic Violence - FD top
What is an Injunction?

An injunction is a court order, also referred to as a restraining order, which directs a person
not to have any contact with you.

How can I get an Injunction?

Please contact the Victim's Advocate at 326-7676 or contact a clerk in the Family Division.

To obtain a Restraining Order, you must appear in person, in the Clerk of Courts Customer Service Center located at 518 St Johns Avenue in downtown Palatka. This address is at the corner of St. Johns Avenue and 6th Street. There is ample parking directly adjacent to the building. You must have a photo ID with signature. If you have a police report, please bring this with you.

Please come as early as possible, as this process may take 3 to 5 hours. The Clerk's hours
are 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. No new petitions will be processed after 5:00 PM
unless you cannot find shelter through family, friends, or local shelters until the next
business day.

What are the requirements for filing a Petition for Injunction?

Domestic Violence

This action is available if the respondent resides with you, or has lived with you in the past as a

member of the family, such as a spouse, former spouse, person related by blood or marriage,

person who has lived together with you as though he/she was your spouse, or person with whom

you have had a child, even if you have never lived together.

Repeat Violence

This action is available if you have been a victim of assault, battery, or other specific acts of

violence by the respondent. There must have been two (2) occurrences or acts of physical or

sexual abuse, and one (1) occurrence must have been in the last six (6) months. The judge may

require you to furnish the police reports as filed. The following conditions should also be met:

  • You and respondent are not related by blood;
  • You and respondent have no children together; and
  • You and respondent have never lived together as a family.

Sexual Violence

This action is available if:

  • You have reported the sexual violence to a law enforcement agency
    and are cooperating in any criminal proceeding against the respondent,
  • AND

  • The respondent who committed the sexual violence was sentenced to a
    term of imprisonment in state prison and the term of imprisonment has
    expired or is due to expire within 90 days following the date the petition
    is filed.

A sexual violence restraining order may also be filed by an adult for any one incident of sexual
battery, lewd or lascivious act committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16
years of age, luring or enticing a child, sexual performance by a child or any other forcible felony
wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted.

Dating Violence

This action is available if you and respondent have, or have had, a continuing and significant
relationship of a romantic or significant nature, which is determined based on consideration of
the following factors:

  • The dating relationship existed within the last 6 months;
  • The nature of the relationship is characterized by the expectation of
    affection or sexual involvement between the parties;
  • AND

  • The frequency and type of interaction must be based on the parties'
    involvement over time and on a continuous basis during the course
    of the relationship.

Divorce - FD top
How are Name Changes processed?

The Clerk's Office sells forms for a petition for name change in the Family Division at the main
Courthouse. There is a filing fee for name changes.

The Clerk's Office cannot give you any legal advice. You are responsible for preparing all necessary
pleadings. If you are unable to proceed without assistance, we suggest you contact an attorney.

How is a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage processed?

Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is a fast, easy and inexpensive procedure for ending a
marriage for eligible couples

To be eligible:

  • Both must agree that the marriage cannot be saved.
  • Both must agree on how to divide property and debts.
  • There must be no minor children of the marriage, and the wife cannot be pregnant.
  • At least one of you must have been a resident of Florida for the past six months.

Both parties must come to the Family Division with picture ID's, and fill out a Petition for
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. Forms are available in the Clerk's office. An attorney is not
required, but if either of you has any legal questions, consulting an Attorney prior to filing is
advised. The Court will set a date for the Final Hearing at the time of filing.

Please provide four (4) extra copies of your hearing form and two (2) self-addressed stamped
envelopes for both Husband and Wife. You both will receive a copy of the Hearing Notice and
date by mail. This date will be no sooner than twenty (20) days after the filing. Both parties
must appear at the hearing.

The filing fee can be found here. If you do not meet the requirements for a Simplified
Dissolution, you may obtain other Divorce information from the Self-Help Coordinator. The Clerk
cannot assist you. You may act as your own Attorney and do all your own research, or you
may obtain an Attorney.

Are there any options if I cannot pay the filing fee for my case?

There is an option called the Deferred Payment Program. Eligibility is based on income
and number of dependents.

The Deferred Payment program divides the total fees into six (6) monthly payments. There is a
$25.00 application fee due upon filing; this amount is not applied to the total balance.

How do I file for Divorce? What do I do if we both agree? Do I need an Attorney?

An Attorney is not required to file for Dissolution of Marriage. However, if there are issues that are
not agreed upon or significant issues regarding child custody, child support, alimony, retirement
or pension benefits, it would be in your best interest to consult an attorney.

If you and your spouse decide not to hire an attorney, you may contact the Self-Help Coordinator
for information on the forms required to file for divorce as well as the filing fees and the procedure.

Please note the Self-Help Coordinator is not an Attorney and cannot give you legal advice.

How do I file for Legal Separation?

To file for legal separation, you will need to contact an Attorney. There is no paperwork
available in the Clerk's office or through the Self-Help Coordinator.

What if I want to contact a Judge regarding my case? Can I call his office?

The only way to speak to a Judge outside of Court is through written correspondence.

Note: Anytime a document is submitted into the Court file, a copy must be sent or mailed to the
other party.

Frequently Requested Telephone Numbers:

Pro Se Self Help Unit - FD top
What is the Pro Se Self Help Unit?

There is a Self-Help Coordinator who can assist with some cases if the parties are filing
without the aid of an Attorney. The Self-Help Coordinator is not an Attorney and is unable
to give legal advice
. However, he/she can assist with the correct paperwork as well as
explain how the process works.

The phone number for the Self-Help Coordinator is 386-329-1911.

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