Florida's Family Court

Florida’s Family Court uses a fully integrated, comprehensive approach to handling all cases involving children and families, while at the same time resolving family disputes in a fair, timely, efficient, and cost effective manner.

The Florida Supreme Court has recognized that families should be able to have all of their disputes resolved in the most effective and efficient way possible. Court cases involving one family are handled before one judge unless impractical. Since 1991, a series of Florida Supreme Court opinions have been instrumental in shaping family courts throughout the state. Click the links below to view the full versions of the opinions.

In re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 588 So. 2d 586 (Fla. 1991)(“Family Courts I”)

In re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 633 So. 2d 14, 16 (Fla. 1994)(“Family Courts II”)

In re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 646 So. 2d 178, 179 (Fla. 1994)(“Family Courts III”)

In re: Report of the Family Court Steering Committee, 794 So. 2d 518 (Fla. 2001)(“Family Courts IV”)

Family court is comprised of many different case types as listed in the Rules of Judicial Administration, Rule 2.545. See the list below.

Family Court Jurisdiction

  • dissolution of marriage
  • annulment
  • support unconnected with dissolution of marriage
  • paternity
  • child support
  • custodial care of and access to children
  • proceedings for temporary or concurrent custody of minor children by extended family
  • adoption
  • name change
  • declaratory judgment actions related to premarital, marital [marital], or post marital agreements
  • civil domestic, repeat violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual violence injunctions
  • juvenile delinquency
  • termination of parental rights
  • juvenile dependency
  • emancipation of a minor
  • truancy
  • modifications and enforcement of orders

Family Court Tool Kits

Several Florida Supreme Court steering committees and the Office of Court Improvement have developed three Judicial Tool Kits. The first tool kit covers "the basics" of family court. The second addresses legal issues that occur while coordinating related cases. The most recent tool kit, developed in 2015, provides information about child development and trauma.

Final Friday Family Court Communiqué Video “Commercial”

On the last Friday of each month, the Office of Court Improvement disseminates an e-newsletter called the Final Friday Family Court Communiqué to chief judges, trial court administrators, every judge who hears any family court case type, and all family court staff. This newsletter provides information on family court promising practices, upcoming events, and hot topics, such as the one family, one judge model, trauma-responsive courts, school-justice partnerships, and early childhood courts, to name a few.

The following video “commercial” is a light-hearted attempt to highlight the numerous benefits of the Final Friday Family Court Communiqué. 

OCI Acronyms and Terms

A helpful chart with definitions for common acronyms found in Florida’s family courts.