Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center
175 NW 1st Avenue
Miami FL 33128
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR FAMILY COURT SELF HELP PROGRAM
BEFORE READING FURTHER, CLICKHERE FOR THE
"NOTICE OF LIMITATION OF SERVICES PROVIDED".


How does the project work?

What form packets are available and how much do they cost?

How else can the Family Court Self Help Program assist me with my family case?

What time is the Self Help office open?

What are some important things to remember when I visit the Self Help Program?

Can I get legal advice through the Family Court Self Help Program?

Will my case information be kept confidential?

Can other parties in my case receive assistance through the Self-Help Program?

If I have any questions, can I phone or mail the Project's staff?

If a person does not speak English, is an interpreter needed?

If I am a person with a disability and need assistance, who do I contact?

By Local Rule approved by the Supreme Court of Florida, all persons in divorce actions, name changes, paternity, child custody and post-judgment modification cases in Miami-Dade County's Family Court, WHO ARE NOT REPRESENTED BY AN ATTORNEY (unless waived by the Administrative or Associate Administrative Judge of the Family Division of this Court) must acquire and use the Family Court Self Help Program's form packets (or forms in substantial compliance). Petitioners must have their pleadings and papers reviewed by the program's staff at the time they file their case.

How does the project work?
If you are filing a divorce action, name change, paternity, child custody or post-judgment modification case in Miami-Dade County's Family Court, and you do not have an attorney, you must go to the Family Court Self Help Program located on the 24th Floor, Room 2441 of the Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center at 175 NW 1st  Avenue. Your first step is to purchase a packet of forms with instructions on how to complete them, and make an appointment to return with the completed forms and all necessary documents. Upon your return, a staff member will check your papers for completeness and tell you the next steps you must follow in general family court procedure. When your forms and documents are in order and all the correct procedures have been followed according to Family Court law, you will be able to obtain a hearing date before the judge. Click here to learn how to save time and prevent delays when visiting the Self Help Program.

What form packets are available and how much do they cost?
Three form packets, including information and instructions, can be purchased for $65.00 each:
  • Divorce Packet
  • Child Support, Paternity, Custody & Visitation Packet
  • Post Judgment Modification & Enforcement Packet
NOTE: A Name Change Packet can be purchased for $40 each and a Motion Packet can be purchased for $25 each. The project does not provide forms for adoptions.

How else can the Family Court Self Help Program assist me with my family case?
Program staff will give you information about other Family Court programs which you, your spouse (husband or wife) and/or your children may be required to attend, such as family mediation, parenting courses and courses for or your family are in need of social services, staff can assist with referring you to appropriate programs in Miami-Dade County.

What time is the Self Help office open?
The hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday except for legal holidays.

What are some important things to remember when I visit the Self Help Program?
  • YOU MUST HAVE A VALID PICTURE I.D. EVERY TIME YOU VISIT THE SELF HELP PROGRAM OR STAFF WILL BE UNABLE TO ASSIST YOU. Your picture I.D. must have the date issued, showing that you have been a resident of Florida for at least six months prior to filing your case. If your picture I.D. does not have the date it was issued, you must bring a person who can confirm that you have been a resident of Florida for six months or more. That person, however, must have a valid I.D. which indicates he/she has been a Florida resident for at least six months.
  • YOU MUST PAY THE FULL COST OF FORM PACKETS BY VISA, MASTER- CARD, DEBIT OR A MONEY ORDER made out to Miami-Dade County. CASH OR CHECKS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. To request a packet by mail, please enclose a money order for the cost of the desired form packet with an additional $5 to cover mailing expenses.
  • ALL FORMS MUST BE FILLED OUT TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY BEFORE YOU RETURN FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT. Staff members can only review your forms for completeness. They cannot fill out the forms for you.
  • Return ON TIME on the day of your appointment OR YOU WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED FOR ANOTHER DAY.
  • PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN PENS (black or blue ink only) AND CORRECTION FLUID.
  • PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS IN YOUR PACKET CAREFULLY AND BRING ANY AND ALL DOCUMENTS required for your family matter. Please bring the receipt for your packet purchase with you. You cannot proceed with your case unless all the necessary forms and documents are completed. In general, the following are some common things people must remember, if their form packets instruct them to do so:
  • SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS, FULL NAMES AND STREET ADDRESSES (NO P.O./POST OFFICE BOXES) with city and state ARE NEEDED FOR ALL PERSONS INVOLVED IN THE CASE, including parents, guardians, children and other family members. IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, YOU MUST LIST THEIR FULL NAMES AND INCLUDE THEIR ADDRESSES FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS. You must provide this same information for yourself and other family members who the children lived with during this period of time.
  • Be sure to bring ANY AND ALL FINANCIAL INFORMATION, such as pay stubs, proof of assets and debts.
  • If you are already divorced and want to modify, or change, the conditions of your
Final Judgment, PLEASE BRING ANY ORDER OR FINAL JUDGMENT IN YOUR FAMILY CASE WHICH REFERS TO THE ISSUES YOU WANT TO HAVE CHANGED.

Can I get legal advice through the Family Court Self Help Program?
NO. Pursuant to Rule 12.750, Florida Rules of program staff cannot give you legal advice or act as your lawyer. They cannot tell you what your legal rights or remedies are, represent you in Court, tell you how to testify in Court or guarantee what happens in your family case. In all matters, IT IS BEST TO TALK WITH YOUR OWN ATTORNEY, ESPECIALLY IF YOUR CASE HAS IMPORTANT ISSUES REGARDING CHILDREN, CHILD SUPPORT, ALIMONY, RETIREMENT OR PENSION BENEFITS, ASSETS OR LIABILITIES.

Will my case information be kept confidential?
NO.
The information you give and receive from Self Help personnel is not confidential and may be subject to disclosure at a later date.

Can other parties in my case receive assistance through the Self-Help Project?
YES. If another party in your case asks for assistance from the Project, that person will be given the same type of assistance that you receive.

If I have any questions, how can I contact the Project's staff?
You can phone the Self Help Program at (305) 349-7800 for general information and scheduling.

If a person does not speak English, is an interpreter needed?
Most Family Court Self Help Program staff are fluent in Spanish, and one staff member speaks Creole. If you speak another foreign language, you must bring someone to interpret for you.

If I am a person with a disability and need assistance, who do I contact?
If you are a person with a disability and need assistance to appear in court or participate in a court program or service, please contact: Please contact ADA Coordinator, at:
Voice Mail: (305) 349-7175
TDD: (305) 349-7174
Fax No: (305) 349-7355
 
 

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Voice Mail (305) 349-7175
E-Mail ADA@jud11.flcourts.org