The Family Court Self-Help Program can assist you with the purchase of the correct packet, review of your forms once completed, and instructions on how to file and proceed with your case.

In order to be eligible for a "Divorce by Publication", you must complete and submit an Affidavit of Diligent Search to the court. This document clearly outlines all of the actions you have taken to locate your spouse, essentially proving to the court that your spouse absolutely can't be found. If you pursue locating your spouse through methods outlined in the Affidavit of Diligent Search and your spouse cannot be located, then a “Divorce by Publication” will allow you to serve the other side by this type of notice.

Once the Notice of Dissolution is published once a week for four weeks in a newspaper that specializes in publishing classified legal advertisements and the missing spouse does not respond in 28 days, the Petitioner may file a motion for Default, and the action proceeds as a default divorce.

Once a petition is filed, the other party (Respondent) has 20 days after service to file their response. Depending on whether your case is contested or uncontested will determine how long before your case will be set for hearing.

The other party, the “Respondent”, has 20 days after service to file their response. If after 20 days there is no response, you can file a Motion for Default. If there are no children in common and no property to distribute, your case will get set for a final hearing with the Judge.

  1. If the other party files a response and agrees to get a divorce and you have no children in common and no property to distribute, it is called and Uncontested Dissolution of Marriage. Your case will get set for a final hearing with the Judge.
  2. If you have children in common and /or property to distribute, and the other party files a response and agrees to get a divorce, and you file with the Court a Marital Settlement Agreement that handles all issues between you and your spouse, that case is also called and Uncontested Dissolution of Marriage. Your case will get set for a final hearing with the Judge.

No, if both parties agree to waive the final hearing, an affidavit can be signed in certain instances to not appear. Speak with a representative at Self Help to see if your case qualifies.

If you have children in common and / or property to distribute, you must file a Marital Settlement Agreement before you receive a Final Judgment. If you and the Respondent do not execute a Marital Settlement Agreement on your own, you will be sent to Mediation. At Mediation, you will draft a written Marital Settlement Agreement that will distribute all of your marital assets, liabilities, property, and support. All children issues of time sharing, parental responsibility, and child support will be part of this Agreement. After you file the complete Marital Settlement Agreement, your case will get set for a final hearing with the Judge.

If Mediation was not successful the Court may set a Case Management Conference hearing. At this hearing you will have an opportunity to speak with the Judge about the issues in your case.

Also, your case may be referred to a General Magistrate for a variety of purposes (timesharing issues, child support, alimony, etc.) before being heard by the judge. The General Magistrate will generate a report for the judge’s review on whatever referral was made and the judge will typically ratify this recommendation if it meets the judge’s approval.

For more information on General Magistrates, click here.

Your case may go to trial. At the trial, you will have a final chance to speak to the Judge in your case. The Judge will make a final determination of all outstanding issues.

Per Florida Statute 61.21, parenting classes are required prior to the finalization of a dissolution of marriage cases. Click here for the current list of providers.

Copies of final judgments can be purchased through the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Court at the Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center, Family Court, 175 NW 1st Avenue, 14th Floor, Miami, FL 33128 or any of the District Offices.

Copies may also be purchased online here.

A petition for modification, enforcement or contempt will need to be filed with the court for the matter to be addressed. The Family Self-Help Project will assist you in filing any post-judgment motions for modification or enforcement.