Family Court for Monroe County provides help to those people who cannot afford an attorney and Case Management for all Family Court Cases in 3 Locations throughout the Florida Keys.
- Key West Courthouse - 302 Fleming Street, Key West, FL
- Marathon Courthouse - 3117 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL
- Plantation Key Courthouse - 88820 Overseas Highway, Tavernier, FL
Family Court Staff provides the following Services throughout Monroe County:
Self Help Program - (Also referred to as Pro Se Program) Family Court Self Help Staff will provide you with the Forms for many types of Family Court Proceedings: Listed Below and at the Family Court Forms link are a few examples:
Court Call Telephonic Appearances for Judge Slaton Family Division Marathon Cases
Instructions for Self Help Forms
Family Court Forms
Family Court Self Help Staff
To download the "Family Court Forms" you will need "Adobe Acrobat Reader" installed on your PC.
After downloading, you can print the forms and complete them with a pen or typewriter. These forms cannot be filled out on-line (or on your computer).
Family Court Brochure ( to print out use double-sided printing if available )
In addition to the Self Help Program our Family Court Staff also provides Case Management for all Family Court Cases.
Case Management is the procedure used by our circuit to monitor and move all Family Court Cases through the court system in a timely and efficient manner.
Once a Family Court Case is filed it will automatically be scheduled for a Case Management conference and all parties will receive a Standing Temporary Domestic Relations Order.(link to order, see addendum d).
Your Case Management conference will be heard at one of the 3 courthouse locations. please make sure to review the rules and regulations you receive from family court and show up properly dressed for court. (see addendum e)
At the Case Management conference the judge or magistrate will identify the issues in your Case which may include:
The judge or magistrate may order certain tasks at the Case Management conference. These tasks may include but are not limited to, filing proof of completion of the required parenting class and the exchange of mandatory disclosure items.
Child custody, Visitation
Distribution of assets & debts
Attorneys fees, temporary/permanent
Status of mandatory discovery issues
Use of experts
Mediation referral (link to mediation information, see addendum f)
Completion of parenting class
Filing of financial affidavits
Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285 requires each party in dissolution of marriage action to exchange certain information and documents, and to file a financial affidavit. The financial affidavit may be obtained by contacting the Self Help Specialist nearest you. Some of the documents you must exchange are as follows:
Income tax returns for the past year
IRS forms W-2, 1099 and K-1 for the past year
Pay Stubs or other evidence of Income for the last 3 months
(link to rule of form 12.932 at flcourts.org)
Family Court also provides Case Management in our unified Family Court
Unified Family Court is the handling of all Family Cases involving the same children and families at one hearing, while at the same time resolving family disputes in a fair, timely efficient, and cost effective manner.
Unified Family Court increases efficiency and is better for families by eliminating duplicate hearings, decreasing the potential for conflicting orders, creating opportunity for alternative dispute resolution and promoting more informed judicial decision making.
When you file a Family Law Case you are required to also file a Notice of Related Cases Form. (link to form, see addendum g) This form provides for you to notify the court of all related Cases involving your family. For instance, if you have a domestic violence case and a divorce case you should provide that information on this form and both of your cases will be heard at the same time avoiding the necessity of multiple hearings on the same issues.If you become aware of multiple cases involving your family after the filing of your Family Court Case, please notify the Case Manager in your location so that we may bring all the cases together and provide you with time savings and efficiency of process. Our goal is to provide one judge for one family.
Our goal in Family Court is to assist the court and the parties with the efficient and timely processing of all Family Law Cases. Family Court personnel are not attorneys and cannot provide you with legal advice.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a Family Law Case?
answer: Family Law Cases involve any litigation dealing with a family unit. Can include other relationships outside of the family, including boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, repeat domestic violence and sexual violence. Below is a list of some of the cases that are considered Family Law Case:
Child Custody and Visitation
Actions for Enforcement of Family Court Orders
All domestic violence civil injunctions
All repeat violence civil injunctions
All dating violence civil injunctions
All sexual violence civil injunctions
2. Do I have to hire an attorney to represent me in my Family Law Case?
answer: No you are not required to hire an attorney to represent you in any Family Law Case. However, Family Court Cases are often emotional and difficult. It is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney who would represent your interests.
3. Where can I find the Forms to file a Family Court Action?
answer: All Family Court Forms may be found online here at
Family Court Forms
If you do not have a computer or access to the internet these forms may also be accessed online at your local library. Our Self Help Specialists will also provide you the forms you need.
4. Is there any cost to obtaining the forms I need?
answer: There is no charge for obtaining these forms online. If you decide to contact one of our Self Help Specialists, our county currently does not charge for providing these forms. however, this free service may change and there may be an added nominal fee if you wish to obtain these forms from our self-help program. please check with the Self Help Specialist in your area.
5. What are the jurisdictional requirements for me to file for divorce in Monroe County?
answer: The only requirement is that one of the parties is a resident of the state of Florida for six months prior to the filing of the divorce. This must be proven through a Florida drivers license or ID card with an issue date six months to the filing date; affidavit of cooborating witness or other Id with proof of residency.
domestic violence frequently asked questions:
1. What is an injunction?
answer: An injunction is a court order and may also be referred to as a restraining order. This order directs a person not to have any contact with you.
2. Who are the petitioner and respondent in a civil injunction case?
answer: The petitioner is the person who files the initial petition requesting that an injunction be entered; the respondent is the person that an injunction is being sought against.
3. How much does it cost to file a Family Court Injunction?
answer: There currently is no cost for filing in Monroe County
4. What is the difference between a civil and criminal injunction?
answer: A criminal injunction is a court order in a criminal case that arose out of a violent action. A civil injunction is a court order entered in a civil case that may have arisen out of the same violent action.
5. What types of civil injunctions are there in Family Court?
answer: There are 4 types of injunctions that may be entered that are considered Family Court Cases.
a. Domestic Violence Injunction: this action is available if the respondent presently 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 as 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.
b. Repeat Violence Injunction: This action is available if you have been the victim of assault, battery or sexual battery violence by the respondent at least twice within the past 6 months. The following conditions should also be met (a) You and the respondent aren't related by blood; (b) You and the respondent have no children together; and (c) You and the respondent have never lived together.
c. Sexual Violence: This action is available if you have reported the sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and are cooperating in any criminal proceedings 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.
d. Dating Violence: This action is available if you and respondent have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic nature which is based on consideration of the following factors (a) The dating relationship existed within the last 6 months (b) The nature of the relationship is characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties and (c) 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.
6. Where can I obtain an injunction?
answer: During normal working hours, the petition for injunction should be filed with the Clerk of Court in one of the 3 courthouses in the county. Personnel at the Marion Glass Domestic Abuse Shelter and the Monroe County Sheriff Victim Advocates will help in providing the forms and making sure they are submitted to the right person.
Monroe County Sheriff Victim Advocates:
Upper Keys, (305) 853-3211;
Middle Keys, (305) 289-2430;
Key West, (305) 296-2424.
Marion Glass Domestic Abuse Shelter:
Key Largo, (305) 451-5666;
Tavernier, (305) 852-6222;
Middle Keys, (305) 743-4440;
Big Pine Key (305) 872-9411;
Lower Keys, (305) 294-0924.
7. How does the injunction process work?
answer: The injunction process begins when you fill out the petition for an injunction at one of the locations listed above. The Clerk of the Court where you filed the petition will take the paperwork to the judge for review. If the judge decides the sworn allegations contained in the paperwork meet the requirements of Florida law for the issuance of an injunction, the judge will enter a temporary injunction which is valid for 15 days. A hearing date will be contained in the order for temporary injunction and the Sheriff's’s office will serve the temporary injunction on the respondent (the person whom the injunction is against). At the court hearing there will be one of three options 1) A dismissal of the injunction; 2) An extension of the injunction until a specific date; or 3) A permanent injunction which will be effective unit it is changed or ended by a judge at either party’s request, after a notice and haring.
Domestic Violence Information
Monroe County has 2 personnel that handle Case Coordination for all Domestic Violence Cases.
- Elizabeth Logan handles the Case Coordination for the Middle and Upper Keys (305) 853-7344
- Marisa Parra handles the Case Coordination for Key West (305) 295-3647.
An injunction is a court order and may also be referred to as a restraining order. This order directs a person not to have any contact with you.
There are 4 types of injunctions that may be entered.
1. Domestic Violence Injunction: This action is available if the respondent (the person you are seeking the injunction against) presently 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 as 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.
2. Repeat Violence Injunction: This action is available if you have been the victim of assault, battery or sexual battery violence by the respondent at least twice within the past 6 months. the following conditions should also be met (a) you and the respondent are not related by blood; (b) you and the respondent have no children together; and (c) you and the respondent have never lived together.
3. Sexual Violence: This action is available if you have reported the sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and are cooperating in any criminal proceedings 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.
4. : This action is available if you and respondent have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic nature which is based on consideration of the following factors (a) the dating relationship existed within the last 6 months (b) the nature of the relationship is characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties and (c) 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.
During normal working hours you may obtain a petition for injunction at one of the 3 Clerk of Court sites in the county. After hours and on weekends you should contact the Monroe county Sheriff’s Office for referral to the agency who will help you fill out the forms.
Once the forms are filled out they are provided to a judge for his/her review. If the judge finds merit to the petition a temporary injunction will be entered and a notice of hearing will be entered. The respondent will be served with the temporary injunction and the notice of hearing. The formal hearing will be scheduled within 15 days from the entry of the temporary injunction. At that hearing the injunction will either be dismissed at your request or if you do not show up for court, extended at the agreement of both parties or a trial will be held and the injunction will either be entered on a permanent basis, extended, dismissed or as otherwise ordered by the judge upon hearing all testimony.
STANDING TEMPORARY DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT,
IN AND FOR MONROE COUNTY, FLORIDA
STANDING TEMPORARY DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER Top of Page
THIS MATTER came before the Court upon the filing of a Family Court Case in the 16th Judicial Circuit. The Court finds it is in the best interests of the parties in a Family Law case to learn about the problems, duties and responsibilities that may arise during their dissolution proceeding. It is also important for the parties to preserve their assets and comply with Court rules and orders. If there are minor children, it is important for the parties to act in the best interest of the minor children. Thus it is in the best interests of the parties to this action and to any minor children of the marriage to issue this Order, it is therefore,
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows:
1. CONDUCT OF PARTIES DURING THE CASE:
Both parties are directed to refrain from physical, verbal or any other form of harassment of the other, including but not limited to acts done in person or by telephone, at their residence or at work. Failure to abide by this order may result in the issuance of restraining orders punishable by incarceration in the county jail if they are violated.
2. NO SALE, ENCUMBRANCE, TRANSFER OR DAMAGE OF ASSETS
Neither party shall sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove, or in any way dispose of without the consent of the other party in writing, or without an order of the Court, any real or personal property, individually or jointly held by the parties, except in the usual course of business or for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorney’s fees in connection with this action. Both parties are accountable for all money or property in their possession during the marriage and after separation. Any irregularities in an accounting of the assets may cause the party to be penalized for wasting marital assets, which could include an award of attorney’s fees and costs.
3. NO CONCEALMENT OR DESTRUCTION OF FAMILY RECORDS/INSURANCE POLICIES:
Neither party may conceal from the other or destroy any family records, business records, or any records of income, debt, or other obligations. Any insurance policies in effect at the time the petition was filed shall not be terminated, allowed to lapse, be concealed, modified, borrowed against, pledged or otherwise encumbered. This shall include medical, hospital and/or dental insurance for the other party or the minor children Neither party shall change the beneficiaries of any existing life insurance policies, and each party shall maintain the existing life insurance, automobile insurance, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies in full force and effect. The parties shall continue to pay all premiums on a timely basis, unless there is a written consent by both parties, or an order of the Court.
4. ADDITIONAL DEBT:
Neither party shall incur additional personal debt which would bind the other spouse nor tie up any assets, except by the written consent of the parties or order of this Court. This shall include action by either party resulting in a decreased ability to pay, or increased need for support or family expenses. The parties are strongly urged to temporarily refrain from using joint credit cards except for absolute necessities and only as a last resort. Any party using a joint credit card after separation must be prepared to justify all charges as reasonable and necessary for life’s necessities. Abuse of credit, especially the other spouse’s credit, offends the court’s sense of equity and will be dealt with accordingly.
5. RELOCATION OF CHILDREN. Neither party shall permanently remove, cause to be removed, or permit the removal of any minor child of the parties from Monroe County, Florida, without written agreement of both parents or Court Order.
6. CHILD CONTACT. If the parties have a child or children, a party vacating the family residence shall notify the other party or the party’s attorney, in writing within 48 hours of such a move, and of an address where the relocated party can receive further communication. This provision shall not apply if there is a conflicting Court Order or Injunction for Protection against Domestic Violence.
7. TREATMENT OF CHILDREN. Neither party shall take any action which is intended or would reasonably be expected to result in an alienation of affection by a child for the other parent. Both parents shall encourage the child(ren) to foster respect for the other parent and to encourage visitation with the non-residential parent. Both parents shall assist their child(ren) in having contact with both parties, which is consistent with the habits of the family, personally, by telephone, and in writing unless there is a conflicting Court Order. Please see Rules and Regulations for all Family Court Cases in the 16th Judicial Circuit.
8. COMPLIANCE WITH RULES & REGULATIONS FOR THE 16TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT. All parties are directed to comply with all Rules & Regulations for Family Court for the 16th Judicial Circuit. See attached rules
9. SANCTIONS: Failure to obey these Orders may be punishable by contempt of Court. If you wish to modify these orders, you must file an appropriate motion with the Clerk of Court’s Office in Monroe County.
10. TERM OF ORDER. Upon the initial filing this order shall be mailed to all parties by the Family Court Case Managers and shall be effective upon receipt of this Order. The foregoing Order shall remain in full force and effect during the pendency of the action unless modified, terminated, or amended by further Order of the Court upon motion of either of the parties.
DONE AND ORDERED at _____________________, Monroe County, Florida this ___ day of _______________, 20___.
Circuit Court Judge
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the Standing Temporary Domestic Relations Order was mailed this ______ day of ______________________ 20_____, to:
Attorney for Petitioner ______
Attorney for Respondent ____
Family Court Case Manager
Family Law Court Courtroom Rules and Regulations
(Attachment to Standing Temporary Domestic Relations Order)
The following are the rules and policies governing the family law division of the Monroe County Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court. Read them carefully. All parties are expected to know and obey these rules.
1. Dress Appropriately. Court business is very important. Shorts, tank or halter tops, undershirts, sunglasses and hats are forbidden. The judges have the authority to ban persons not appropriately dressed from participating in the proceedings.
2. Cell phones & Pagers. Cell phones and pagers should be left at home and not brought to the courthouse. The use of cell phones and/or pagers in the courtroom is strictly prohibited.
3. Speaking. A court proceeding is not a free-for-all where people can say whatever they want whenever they feel like it. Parties do not speak unless they are directed by the judge or lawyer to speak, then speak only to the judge or lawyer. A party never speaks directly to the other spouse in court.
Interruptions, sarcasm, insults, and unresponsiveness answers will not be tolerated. Do not start arguments with or threaten anyone. The judge has the authority to hold you in contempt of court or expel anyone from the courtroom who hinders the orderly conduct of business.
4. Disruptive Behavior. While it is expected that the parties may be upset when they come to court, they are expected to keep their anger and other offensive behavior under control.
Alternative Cooperation Track
1. Mediation is encouraged early in all proceedings. This is an opportunity to reach a reasonable negotiated agreement on some or all issues and may result in substantial savings to the parties.
2. Litigation must be conducted courteously and cooperatively. The court can sanction unprofessional and uncooperative behavior in any Case and may award attorney’s fees as required by law if either party or their counsel is found to have been unduly uncooperative, resulting in prolonged or needless litigation.
3. Both parties must file and exchange financial affidavits and mandatory disclosure pursuant to Family Law Rule 12.285.
Appearing in Court without an Attorney (Pro Se) Top of Page
A Pro Se Litigant is a party without an attorney. Unrepresented litigants are not entitled to any special treatment or privileges, and must follow the same rules of procedure and ethical regulations that govern practicing attorneys.
1. The court must treat an Unrepresented party the same way it treats a lawyer. A party unrepresented by an attorney, although not expected to be as skilled or knowledgeable as a lawyer, are nevertheless subject to all laws, rules, and regulations that apply to a lawyer.
Judges are forbidden by law to act as lawyers for unrepresented parties. It is also unethical for judges to give them special treatment. The judge’s judicial assistant is part of the office of the Circuit Court Judge and he or she is forbidden from doing anything the judge cannot do. Judges and their assistants must remain entirely neutral and impartial.
2. What judges cannot do. Neither the judge nor the judicial assistant can give an unrepresented litigant legal advice, practice tips or help in writing court papers. Most questions which ask what to do or how to do it cannot be answered and should not be asked.
The Family Division of the court has a Self Help Litigant Program for Monroe County. The Lower Keys and Key West Self Help Program, may be reached at (305) 295-3643 and the Middle and Upper Keys Self Help Program may be reached at (305) 853-7387. The self help program staff is not the lawyer for an unrepresented party, legal advisor nor office/secretarial support staff.
3. Contact with the Judge’s Office. An unrepresented party is authorized to contact the judge’s office by telephone on matters related to the court’s schedule and attendance in court. There are no other authorized purposes to contact the judge’s office. Visiting the judge’s office is especially discouraged because it disrupts the working routine of the office. Judicial Assistants are there to assist the judge. It is not their duty to either listen to parties and their complaints or give advice on what to do.
If anyone insists upon speaking about unauthorized matters after being warned, judicial assistants have been instructed to hang up the telephone or call a security guard, and they will report the misconduct to the judge. All requests to speak to the judge on the telephone or have a private conference will be refused. Letters written to the judge which offers or discusses evidence in the Case or attempts to influence the judge’s decision in the Case will be filed in the court file and copies distributed to all parties. Such communications are strictly forbidden.
Cases with Children Top of Page
The courtroom is no place to bring children, especially small children. generally, the court will not permit children of parties to testify as witnesses.
1. Children as Witnesses. Family Law Rules require that an order must be obtained from the judge upon a motion and a hearing in advance before a child may testify. Minor children of the parties are rarely, if ever, allowed to testify in divorce proceedings because it is unfair to them and rarely serves any useful purpose. Unless permission has been obtained from the judge in advance, a child will not testify.
2. Children in the Courtroom. Parties should not bring their children to the courthouse at all. Parties are strongly urged to obtain a babysitter for children too young to behave properly in court.
If a party is unable to find a babysitter and must bring a small child to court, the judge will understand. However, children, who are old enough to sit outside the courtroom unattended must remain outside the courtroom while your case is being heard. All children inside the courtroom must be quiet in their seats or under an adult’s control at all times. If a child disrupts the proceedings, the child must be taken out of the courtroom, which could cause you to miss out on what is taking place inside.
3. Contact with Both Parents: Shared Parenting: Contact with both parents is generally in the best interest of the children. Children are entitled to “frequent and continuing contact with both parents when the parents separate or divorced”.
In nearly all cases, the court orders, “shared parental responsibility” of the children, which means co-parenting. The parents must confer with each other and agree on parenting decisions. Both parents must participate in all parenting decisions and work out their time sharing schedules. If the parents cannot agree on any issue, then the court will decide.
4. Parenting Class Required. Both parents must attend and complete an approved parenting course pursuant to florida statute 61.21. This course is mandatory. Therefore, even if the parties have settled, they must both attend one of these courses. The parties should not enroll in the same class unless both agree to do so.
5. Treatment of Children. The safety, financial security, and well being of the children involved in this case are the court’s primary concern. Parents shall follow these guidelines:
a. Children have a right to a loving, open, and continuing relationship with both parents. They have the right to express love, affection and respect for one parent in the presence of the other parent.
b. Neither parent shall alienate a child’s affection for the other parent.
c. Parents must separate any bad feelings for one another from their duties as parents. Their duty is to share the children’s time and share in making parenting decisions. Children must be free to draw their own conclusions about each parent, without the prejudicial influences of the other parent.
d. Children have the right to never hear a parent, or a relative or a friend of a parent, degrade the other parent.
e. Children have the right to be free of guilt because their parents decide to separate.
f. Each parent should, openly, honestly and respectfully communicate with the other parent. They should never argue in front of the children. The child should never be the messenger between the parents.
g. The parents should develop a workable plan that gives children access to both parents, keep ongoing contact with the children so they don’t feel rejected or abandoned.
h. Each parent should maintain contact with the children by using and providing access to the telephone.
i. Visitation plans should be kept and never cancelled unless absolutely necessary. If plans change, children should be given an explanation, preferably in advance and by the parent causing the cancellation.
j. Common courtesies, (politeness, promptness, readiness, calling to notify if one is going to be late) must be observed when picking up and dropping off children. These times can be very stressful on children, so it is imperative that the parents always behave as responsible adults.
k. The parties should avoid pumping the children for information about the other parent. They should further avoid using the children to deliver child support payments or angry messages.
l. The parties should not ask the children with whom they want to live or put the children in a position of having to take sides. Using the children as pawns in the divorce only hurts the children.
m. Separation of the parents usually has a worse impact on the children than on the parents, a fact both parents should never forget.
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Alternative Dispute Resolution or Mediation
Family Court Personnel works closes with our Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (also referred to as Mediation).
Monroe County provides alternative dispute resolution in all cases. This process is encouraged early in all proceedings. This service allows the parties to resolve and settle their disputes with the help of an independent third party. The cost of mediation is also considerably less than lengthy litigation. Fees are based upon the combined yearly income of the parties and can be as little as $40.00 per person. If you would like to schedule your case for Mediation please contact Lourdes Leal for scheduling (305) 853-7386.
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