Representing Yourself in Family Cases In Seminole County
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most commonly asked questions pertaining to Civil Family matters, including video tutorials and more. (NOTE: For closed captioning click the CC option in the video controls.)
Video tutorial on how to E-File your documents online with Florida Courts.
Tips and guidance for those who are representing themselves in a civil case.
The Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice tutorial on preparing for court.
Frequently Asked Questions
What you need to know about Family Case Management
When will my hearing take place?
Where do I find the forms, I need?
Forms are available online in the Self-Help section of the Florida State Courts website.
Where do I file my completed forms?
All forms should be filed at the Clerk of the Court located at the Downtown Civil Courthouse, by mail to P.O Box 8099 Sanford, FL 32772 or electronically filed through the Florida State e-filing Portal (www.myflcourtaccess.com).
Upon completion and filing of all the necessary documents, you must visit (LINK to Request for hearing form) to notify Family Case Management that your case is ready for review.
How much are the filing fees?
Questions regarding filing fees should be directed to the Seminole County Clerk of Court.
How can I schedule a mediation with the 18th Judicial Circuit’s Mediation Program?
Both parties must submit a completed Financial Affidavit before the case can be referred. If the combined gross annual income of both parties is less than $100,000.00 then the case manager may refer the case to the 18th Judicial Circuit Mediation Program. The mediation program case manager will contact the parties to coordinate a mediation date and time.
For Private Mediators: http://drc.flcourts.org
How do I contact the judge or magistrate’s office?
What is a magistrate?
I need an interpreter for the hearing – what should I do?
If you need a foreign language interpreter to fully participate in your hearing, it is your responsibility to bring a qualified interpreter. More information on interpreters in Seminole County can be found here or search the State Courts listings for an interpreter.
If you need a sign language interpreter for your hearing, please contact the ADA Coordinator;
301 North Park Avenue
Sanford, FL 32771
What does “Pro Se” mean?
“Pro Se” is another term for someone who represents himself or herself in court. It is still your responsibility to be aware of laws and legal rules before appearing in court as neither the judge, magistrate, case managers, clerks, nor other court personnel is allowed to give you any legal advice. Additional information and links are available on our Family web page.
I have been ordered to take a parenting course – why do I have to do this?
Florida Statute §61.21(4) requires that all parties to a dissolution of marriage with children or a paternity action that involves issues of parental responsibility are required to complete a parenting course before a Final Judgment is entered. A current list of approved parenting course providers is located https://www.myflfamilies.com/services/child-family/child-and-family-well-being/pefs/course-providers.
Where do I go to file a Divorce?
You may file a Petition for Divorce in any one of the ways below:
How can I contact the Self-Help Coordinator?
You may contact the assigned case manager by filling out an Inquiry- Request for Hearing and Other Action Form.
Communications with the case managers are public records. Nothing discussed with a case manager is confidential or “off the record.”
How do I change my address in my court file?
You must file your change of address by filing the following form with the Clerk of the Court. The following is a Supreme Court approved family law form.
How do I obtain a copy of a court hearing transcript?
If the hearing was digitally recorded, you may contact the Digital Court Reporters and complete a Seminole County Digital Court Recording Request Form.
What do I do if I cannot serve or locate the other party?
- Service by Publication is used when service has been returned indicating that the other party could not be located.
- You must prove to the Court that you have made a reasonable effort to locate him/her.
- Follow these Instructions to complete a Diligent Search and Inquiry . The form lists places to search for the other party.
How to obtain a state and national background check (FDLE)
FDLE is the central repository of criminal history information for the state of Florida. CCHInet allows you to perform a self-service search of FDLE's Computerized Criminal History (CCH) files, which include the state of Florida criminal history information only.
More information may be found here.
Notice About Representing Yourself from Florida Courts
Notice to parties who are not represented by an attorney who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar
If you have questions or concerns about the forms, instructions, commentary, the use of the family law forms, or your legal rights, it is strongly recommended that you talk to an attorney.
If you do not know an attorney, please call the lawyer referral service in your area or contact The Florida Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service.
If you do not have the money to hire an attorney, please call the legal aid office in your area.
Because the law does change, the forms and information about them may have become outdated. Be aware that changes may have taken place in the law or court rules that would affect the accuracy of the forms or instructions. Updates to Family Law Rules and Opinions are found on the www.flcourts.org website.
In no event will the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar, or anyone contributing to the production of these forms or instructions be liable for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages resulting from their use.
IMPORTANT SELF-HELP PROGRAM DISCLAIMER: Before receiving services from a self-help program or court staff, please read through the NOTICE OF LIMITATIONS OF SERVICES DISCLAIMER. Self-help programs and court staff function under certain service limitations. For example, they can assist you administratively and procedurally but are not able to act as your lawyer or give you legal advice. This disclaimer sets out the limit of services from self-help programs and court staff.
Need More Help?
Need help completing your forms? Contact the Dorothy Guess Self-Help Center for an affordable attorney consultation.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 407-665-4300 for more information.
Florida Courts Help available at the touch of a screen:
For constituents, customers, or callers seeking help with family law cases – divorce, adoption, name change, custody, order of protection, and much more – there is now a one-stop source for lots of information aimed at self-represented people. Florida Courts Help is available at app stores as well as online at help.flcourts.gov.