Family

Overview


The Family Division accepts filings for Adoptions, Termination of Parental Rights (TPR), Paternity, Child Support, Dissolution of Marriage, Name Change, Annulment’s and Emancipations.

Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course Provider list - As required by Florida Statute 61.21, and referenced in Local AO 2017-19-UFC, a list of approved Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course Providers can be found at MyFLFamilies.com.

Adoptions and Termination of Parental Rights


The Clerk’s Office is responsible for processing all adoptions in Broward County. We ensure that all paperwork is filed with the appropriate department and adhere to strict confidentiality laws.

The Clerk's Office is prohibited from offering legal advice regarding adoptions. Please refer any adoption questions to your attorney or adoption agency.

All records of adoption are confidential and exempt from the provisions of Section 119.07 (1) Florida Statutes, except as provided in Section 63.162 F.S. A court order is required to allow access to an adoption file.

Adoption is the creation of a parent-child relationship by judicial order between two parties who usually are unrelated. This relationship is bought about only after a determination that the child is an orphan or has been abandoned, or that the parent’s parental rights have been terminated by court order.

Termination of Parental Rights is the legal severing of a parent’s s rights, privileges, and responsibilities regarding his or her child. Termination of a parent’s rights frees the child to be adopted by someone else.

Filing for Divorce


Dissolution of Marriage is the legal term for divorce.

Name Change


A Name Change can be filed for an individual, minor, adult or family.

Electronic Fingerprinting Process

According to chapter 68.07 of the Florida Statutes, a petitioner must have fingerprints taken electronically by an authorized agency prior to a court hearing on a request for a change of name. The prints are submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for a state criminal history records check and the federal bureau of investigation for a national criminal history records check. The results are submitted by the FDLE to the Clerk & Comptroller’s office. The court uses the results to review the information filed by the petitioner and to evaluate whether to grant the petition.

  • Dissolution of marriage or Adoption of Children: A records check is not required to restore a former name or for changes of name in proceedings.
  • Minor's Name Change: The representing Adult Fingerprints are required and not the minor.

Miscellaneous Fingerprint Information:

  • The Origination Agency Identification Number (ORI) for Broward County is FL923570Z
  • Contact the Clerk’s Office
    • 954-831-5792

For more information refer to Florida Statute 68.07.

Paternity


Any woman who is pregnant or has a child, any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child, or any child may bring proceedings in the circuit court to determine the paternity of the child when paternity has not been established by law or otherwise.

  • The proceedings must be in the circuit court where the petitioner resides or the county where the respondent resides.
  • The court shall determine the issues of paternity and ability to support the child.
  • Other fees or costs, such as medical, hospital/childbirth expenses, or attorney fees, may be awarded.
  • The court may order an appropriate parenting plan and time-sharing schedule.

Parties may be required to submit to scientific testing to show a probability of paternity (see Florida Statute 742.12).

Fees and Costs


VALID FORMS OF PAYMENTCash, Cashier’s Check, Money Order, Attorney's Check, or Credit Card. (MasterCard or Visa only. Payer must appear in person with proper identification.)

NO PERSONAL CHECKS ARE ACCEPTED.

ATTENTION ATTORNEYS — Attorney’s trust account checks must be imprinted with the words “Trust Account” or “IOLTA”.


Filing Fees

Adoptions and Termination of Parental Rights $442.00
Dissolution/Annulment Marriage $409.00
Family Actions Under Florida Statutes Ch. 742, 752, and 753 $301.00
For the filing of any counter petition/domestic relations $295.00
Modification of Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage $50.00
Name Change $401.00
Circuit and Family New Case (Other than an action for real property or an action under Florida statutes Ch. 39,61, 742, and 753) Actions over $15,000.00 $401.00
Re-Open Fee (fee charged for each pleading filed in a “closed case” which requires Judicial action) $50.00
Issuance of a summons, per summons $10.00

Frequently Asked Questions


Glossary of Terms


TermDefinition
AnswerA response to a question, a pleading, or a discovery request.
AppealA proceeding undertaken to have a decision reconsidered by a higher authority; esp., the submission of a lower court’s or agency’s decision to a higher court for review and possible reversal.
AssetAn item that is owned and has value. The entries on a balance sheet showing the items of property owned, including cash, inventory, equipment, real estate, accounts receivable, and goodwill.
Certificate of ServiceA section of a pleading or motion filed with the court, usually separately on the last page, in which the party filing the pleading or motion certifies to the court that a copy has been mailed to or otherwise served on all other parties.
Certified CopyA duplicate of an original document, certified as an exact reproduction by the officer responsible for issuing or keeping the original.
Certified MailMail for which the sender requests proof of delivery in the form of a receipt signed by the addressee.
Child SupportA parent’s legal obligation to contribute to the economic maintenance and education of a child until the age of majority, the child’s emancipation before reaching majority, or the child’s completion of secondary education.
Child Support GuidelinesThe basis on which child support is awarded.
Constructive ServiceService accomplished by a method or circumstance that does not give actual notice.
ContemptThe act or state of despising; the condition of being despised or conduct that defies the authority or dignity of a court or legislature.
ContestedTo deny an adverse claim or assert a defense to it in a court proceeding.
Contingent AssetAn asset that you may receive or get later, such as income, tax refund, accrued vacation or sick leave, a bonus, or an inheritance.
Contingent LiabilityA liability that will occur only if a specific event happens; a liability that depends on the occurrence of a future and uncertain event.
Counter PetitionA petition for relief asserted against an opposing party after an original petition has been made.
DefaultA failure of a party to respond to the pleading of another party. This failure to respond may allow the court to decide the case without input from the party who did not appear or respond.
DelinquentFailure to perform an obligation; past due of unperformed.
Dependent Child(ren)Child(ren) who depend on their parent(s) for support either because they are under the age of 18, they have a mental or physical disability that prevents them from supporting themselves, or they are in high school while between the ages of 18 and 19 and are performing in good faith with reasonable expectation of graduation before the age of 19.
Dissolution of MarriageAn action which terminates the marriage of the parties by the entry of a final judgment.
EnjoinedTo legally prohibit or restrain by injunction.
Ex ParteOn or from one party only without notice to or argument from the adverse party.
FilingDelivering a petition, response, motion, or other pleading in a court case to the clerk of court’s office.
Filing FeeAn amount of money, set by law, that the petitioner must pay when filing a case.
Final HearingTrial in your case.
Financial AffidavitA sworn statement that contains information regarding income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.
Final JudgmentA courts last action that settles the rights of the parties and disposes of all issues in controversy, except for the award of costs and enforcement of the judgment.
Guardian ad LitemA neutral person who may be appointed by the court to evaluate or investigate your child’s situation, and file a report with the court about what is in the best interests of your child(ren). Guardians do not “work for” either party. The guardian may interview the parties, visit their homes, visit the child(ren)’s school(s) and speak with teachers, or use other resources to make their recommendation.
HearingA legal proceeding before a judge or designated officer (general master or hearing officer) on a motion.
LiabilitiesEverything owed by you or your spouse, including mortgages, credit cards, or car loans. A liability may be marital or nonmarital, but that distinction is for the court to determine if you and your spouse do not agree."
Lump Sum AlimonyMoney ordered to be paid by one spouse to another in a limited number of payments, often a single payment.
Mandatory DisclosureItems that must be disclosed by both parties except those exempted from disclosure by Florida Family Law Rule 12.285.
Marital AssetGenerally, anything that you and/or your spouse acquired or received (by gift or purchase) during the marriage. For example, something you owned before your marriage may be non-marital. An asset may only be determined to be marital by agreement of the parties or determination of the judge.
Marital LiabilityGenerally, any debt that you and/or your spouse incurred during the marriage. A debt may only be determined to be nonmarital by agreement of the parties or determination of the judge.
MediationA method of nonbinding dispute resolution involving a neutral third party who tries to help the disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable solution.
MediatorA person who is trained and certified to assist parties in reaching an agreement before going to court. Mediators do not take either party’s side and are not allowed to give legal advice. They are only responsible for helping the parties reach an agreement and putting that agreement into writing. In some areas, mediation of certain family law cases may be required before going to court.
ModificationA change made by the court in an order or final judgment.
MotionA request made to the court, other than a petition.
No ContactA court order directing a party not speak to, call, send mail to, visit, or go near his or her spouse, ex-spouse, child(ren), or other family member.
Non-lawyerA person who is not a member in good standing of The Florida Bar.
Non-marital AssetGenerally, anything owned separately by you or your spouse. An asset may only be determined to be nonmarital by either agreement of the parties or determination of the judge.
Non-marital LiabilityGenerally, any debt that you or your spouse incurred before your marriage or since your separation. A debt may only be determined to be non-marital by either agreement of the parties or determination of the judge.
NonpartyA person who is not the petitioner or respondent in a court case.
Notary PublicA person authorized to witness signatures on court related forms.
ObligeeA person to whom money, such as child support or alimony, is owed.
ObligorA person who is ordered by the court to pay money, such as child support or alimony.
Parenting CourseA class that teaches parents how to help their child(ren) cope with divorce and other family issues.
Parenting PlanFlorida Statute 61.046(13): "a document to govern the relationship between the parties relating to the decisions that must be made regarding the minor child and shall contain a time-sharing schedule for the parents and child. The issues concerning the minor child may include, but are not limited to, the child's education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being. In creating the plan, all circumstances between the parties, including the parties' historic relationship, domestic violence, and other factors must be taken into consideration. The parenting plan shall be developed and agreed to by the parents and approved by a court or, if the parents cannot agree, established by the court."
PartyA person involved in a court case, either as a petitioner or respondent.
Paternity ActionA lawsuit used to determine whether a designated individual is the father of a specific child or children.
PayorAn employer or other person who provides income to an obligor.
Permanent AlimonySpousal support ordered to be paid at a specified, periodic rate until modified by a court order, the death of either party, or the remarriage of the Obligee, whichever occurs first.
Personal ServiceWhen a summons and a copy of a petition (or other pleading) that has been filed with the court are delivered by a deputy sheriff or private process server to the other party. Personal service is required for all petitions and supplemental petitions.
PetitionA written request to the court for legal action, which begins a court case.
PetitionerA party who presents a petition to a court when seeking relief.
Primary ResidenceThe home in which the child(ren) spends most of his/her (their) time.
Pro Se LitigantA person represents themselves in court without the assistance of a lawyer.
Reasonable VisitationVisitation between the nonresidential parent and child(ren) that provides frequent and unhampered contact with the child(ren). Such visitation is designed to encourage a close and continuing relationship with due regard for educational commitments of child(ren), any health or social factors of the child(ren), business and personal commitments of both parents, and home arrangements of both parents.
Rehabilitative AlimonySpousal support ordered to be paid for a limited period of time to allow one of the parties an opportunity to complete a plan of education or training, according to a rehabilitative plan accepted by the court, so that he or she may better support himself or herself.
RespondentThe party against whom a motion or petition is filed.
Rotating CustodyPhysical custody of child(ren) after divorce, which is alternated between the mother and father at specified periods of time, as determined by the court. Rotating custody allows each parent equal time with the child(ren).
Scientific Paternity TestingA medical test to determine who is the father of a child.
Secondary Residential Responsibility (Visitation)The time that the parent with whom the child(ren) does (do) not have primary residence spends with the child(ren).
ServiceThe delivery of legal documents to a party. This must be accomplished as directed by Florida Family Law Rules 12.070 and 12.080.
Shared Parental ResponsibilityAn arrangement under which both parents have full parental rights and responsibilities for their child(ren), and the parents make major decisions affecting the welfare of the child(ren) jointly. Shared Parental Responsibility is presumptive in Florida.
Sole Parental ResponsibilityA parenting arrangement under which the responsibility for the minor child(ren) is given to one parent by the court, with or without rights of visitation to the other parent.
Specified VisitationA parenting arrangement under which a specific schedule is established for the visitation and exchange of the child(ren).
SpouseA husband or wife.
SubpoenaA form requiring a witness to appear in court or at a deposition and could include a demand for the production of documents.
Supervised VisitationA parenting arrangement under which visitation between a parent and his or her child(ren) is supervised by either a friend, family member, or a supervised visitation center.
Supplemental PetitionA petition that may be filed by either party after the judge has made a decision in a case and a final judgment or order has been entered. For example, a supplemental petition may be used to request that the court modify the previously entered final judgment or order.
Time Sharing ScheduleA timetable that must be included in the parenting plan that specifies the time, including overnights and holidays that a minor child will spend with each parent. If developed and agreed to by the parents of a minor child, it must be approved by the court. If the parents cannot agree, the schedule shall be established by the court.
TrialThe final hearing in a contested case.
UncontestedAny and all issues on which the parties are able to agree and which are part of a marital settlement agreement.

Contact Information

  • Central Courthouse
    Judicial Complex, West Building
    (Family)

  • 201 S.E. 6th Street
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
     Directions To This Location

  • 4th Floor, Room: 04130

  •  954-831-6565
  •  954-831-6572 - (Fax)

  • Monday - Friday
    8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

    Excluding Holidays