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Unified Family Court

Unified Family Court is 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.

Family Court can mean different things to different people. In Florida, the Supreme Court has recognized Unified Family Court as the best way to handle cases that involve children and families. The idea behind Unified Family Court (or UFC for short) is that a family should be able to have all of their disputes resolved in the most effective and efficient way possible. Since 1991, a series of Florida Supreme Court opinions have been instrumental in establishing UFC 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”)

See the list below for the types of cases that comprise UFC.

Family Court Jurisdiction

  • dissolution of marriage
  • division & distribution of property arising out of dissolution of marriage
  • annulment
  • custodial care / access to children
  • adoption
  • support unconnected with dissolution of marriage
  • child support
  • paternity
  • URESA / UIFSA
  • declaratory judgment actions related to premarital, marital, or post marital agreements
  • name change
  • juvenile delinquency
  • emancipation of a minor
  • CINS / FINS
  • truancy
  • juvenile dependency
  • termination of parental rights
  • civil domestic & repeat violence
  • 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 two tool kits were designed to assist judges and court staff with implementing promising practices regarding the identification of related cases, case processing, and Family Law Advisory Groups. The most recent tool kit, developed in 2015, provides information about child development and trauma.