In 1994, the Supreme Court of Florida mandated the implementation of a coordinated response to the issues presented by families in the need of court intervention so as to maximize the use of available court and community based resources. The Family Court Manager oversees a six person staff, the Case Management Programs for Family Court and Domestic Violence cases, Mediation, and Custody and Home Evaluations. In addition, the Family Court Manager serves as a mediator in Family and Dependency cases, and serves as a General Master in Family, Dependency, and Involuntary Treatment/Placement cases.
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
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:
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.
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.
At the Case Management conference the judge or magistrate will identify the issues in your Case which may include:
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
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. 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:
Financial affidavit 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.
Once you complete these forms the Self Help Specialist will review them for filing requirements and will notarize them for you. Our Self Help Staff will NOT Fill out the Forms for you, Provide you with Legal Advice, or Represent you in court. Each Form comes with a set of instructions. It is important to remember that our Family Court Staff provides these services to any party. It is not uncommon to provide assistance to both sides of a case. The information you give to Family Court Staff is Not Confidential and May be subject to disclosure. If you have filed an action for dissolution of marriage and you have a minor child or children, Florida Statute 61.21 requires both parents to complete an approved parenting course. for your convenience we have provided a list of these courses. The providers for the parenting courses may change and if you require additional information you may contact any of the Family Court personnel listed here.
Wesley House Family Services Key West Classes (305) 292-7150 Michael Holler, M. A., L.M.H.C. (12 hour high conflict course) (305) 393-1230
Monroe County has 2 personnel that handle Case Coordination for all Domestic Violence Cases.
Marisa Parra handles the Case Coordination for Key West (305) 295-3647
Elizabeth Logan handles the Case Coordination for the Middle and Upper Keys (305) 853-7344
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 5 types of injunctions that may be entered.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 conferencewill 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.
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