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This program provides procedural guidance for “pro se” litigants who represent themselves in court.  A pro se litigant is an individual who chooses to represent themselves in a court action without the aid of an attorney.  If you choose to represent yourself in court you must follow the same rules and procedures that an attorney must follow.  The Judge and the Family Law case managers are prohibited from giving you legal advice.

It is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice before coming to court.  However, if you choose to represent yourself in court, you should first go to your local law library and familiarize yourself with the Rules of Court and the Florida Statutes that relate to your family law issue.  Family law forms are available in subject matter packets in the circuit civil division of each Clerk of Court’s office in the Fourteenth Circuit.  The forms are also available on the Florida Supreme Court’s website at www.flcourts.org.

Upon completion of the required forms, you should file your paperwork with the Clerk of Court.  The Clerk will forward your file to the Family Law case manager for review.  The file will be reviewed by the case manager to ensure the case meets procedural requirements.  If the case lacks information or pleadings, a checklist will be mailed to the address listed on your pleadings.  After the file is procedurally ready for a hearing, the case manager will schedule a final hearing for your case.

Family Law court staff may only offer procedural information.  They cannot give legal advice or conduct legal research for a litigant.  If you need help determining “what to put in the blanks”, you should seek the advice of an attorney.

NOTICE:

NOTICE OF LIMITATION OF SERVICES PROVIDED

THE PERSONNEL IN THIS FAMILY LAW COURT STAFF PROGRAM ARE NOT ACTING AS YOUR LAWYER OR PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE TO YOU.

FAMILY LAW COURT STAFF ARE NOT ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE COURT OR ANY JUDGE. THE PRESIDING JUDGE IN YOUR CASE MAY REQUIRE AMENDMENT OF A FORM OR SUBSTITUTION OF A DIFFERENT FORM.  THE JUDGE IS NOT REQUIRED TO GRANT THE RELIEF REQUESTED IN A FORM AND THE JUDGE CANNOT GIVE YOU LEGAL ADVICE.

THE PERSONNEL IN THE FAMILY LAW COURT STAFF PROGRAM CANNOT TELL YOU WHAT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS OR REMEDIES ARE, REPRESENT YOU IN COURT OR TELL YOU HOW TO TESTIFY IN COURT.

FAMILY LAW COURT STAFF SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE TO ALL PERSONS WHO ARE OR WILL BE PARTIES TO A FAMILY LAW CASE.

THE INFORMATION THAT YOU GIVE TO AND RECEIVE FROM THE FAMILY LAW COURT STAFF IS NOT CONFIDENTIAL AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE AT A LATER DATE.  IF ANOTHER PERSON INVOLVED IN YOUR CASE SEEKS ASSISTANCE FROM THIS PROGRAM, THAT PERSON WILL BE GIVEN THE SAME TYPE OF ASSISTANCE THAT YOU RECEIVE.

IN ALL CASES, IT IS BEST TO CONSULT WITH YOUR OWN ATTORNEY, ESPECIALLY IF YOUR CASE PRESENTS SIGNIFICANT ISSUES REGARDING CHILDREN, CHILD SUPPORT, ALIMONY, RETIREMENT OR PENSION BENEFITS, ASSETS OR LIABILITIES.

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