Family Court Case Management

Self Representation for Family Court Cases

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the question below:


Video Tutorial: "How do I Use the Florida E-File Portal?"

For closed captioning click the CC button above.

Video Tutorial: "How Do I File or Answer a Civil Complaint"

The video below was developed by the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice to provide tips and guidance for those who are representing themselves in a civil case in Florida’s trial courts. You will be directed to the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice site to view the videos.

NOTE: For closed captioning click the CC button above.

Video Tutorial: "Preparing for Your Day in Civil Court"

The video below was developed by the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice to provide tips and guidance for those who are representing themselves in a civil case in Florida’s trial courts. You will be directed to the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice site to view the videos.

NOTE: For closed captioning click the CC button above.

When is my hearing?

Cases are reviewed by case managers. If the case is ready for a hearing, it is set on the first available docket and parties are notified by mail/ email.

Where do I find the forms, I need?

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?

A magistrate is an attorney who hears cases referred by a judge and acts in a quasi-judicial capacity. The magistrate hears the cases and provides recommendations to the judge. An Order of Referral is sent to all parties of a case before the case is heard by the magistrate, and the parties must agree that the magistrate can hear the case.

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.

If you need a sign language interpreter for your hearing, please contact the ADA Coordinator;

Court Administration
301 North Park Avenue
Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 665-4227

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 webpage.

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/service-programs/child-welfare/stabilization/

Where do I go to file a Divorce?

You may file a Petition for Divorce at the Seminole County Clerk of the Court located at the Downtown Civil Courthouse
or by mail to:
Seminole County Clerk of the Court
P.O. Box 819
Sanford, FL 32772

or electronically filed through the Florida State e-Filing Portal (www.myflcourtaccess.com. Information on how to file in Seminole County can be found here.

How can I contact the Self-Help Family Case Manager?

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 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.

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