If you live in Brevard County, Florida and have decided to file for divorce on your own, there are some documents that you must read before starting. The documents are located on the clerk’s office website (see Resources) and at the clerk’s office. You can also download forms from the clerk’s website. If you do not have a printer, you can pick the forms up at the clerk’s self-help center.
Obtain and read the administrative orders and Attestation Certificate. Sign the Attestation Certificate. This must be submitted when you file the divorce papers. This is a requirement of Brevard County. If you live in Brevard County and are filing divorce in another county, you do not have to complete this step, unless the county you are filing in requires it.
Obtain the appropriate packet for your situation. The clerk or its website has several divorce packets, including contested without children and property, contested with children and property and uncontested divorces. If you are unsure of your situation, contact the self-help center to obtain the appropriate forms. It is pertinent that you file the proper forms for your situation.
Print and fill in the appropriate forms. All divorces must include a petition for dissolution of marriage, civil cover sheet, certificate of compliance with mandatory disclosure, notice of social security number, financial affidavit, final disposition form and vital statistics form. If the divorce is contested, you must also complete the summons and process service memorandum. The packet also provides answer and counterclaim forms – those are for your spouse. You do not fill those out.
Print and fill in the uniform child custody jurisdiction enforcement act, parenting plan and child support guidelines worksheet. If you have a domestic violence case or other family law case that is related to the divorce case, you must complete the notice of related cases.
Check the date on your driver’s license. If you have not lived in Florida for six months, you cannot file for divorce in the state of Florida. Florida, including Brevard County, prints the issued date on driver’s licenses, so if you have lived in Florida for more than six months, but the date on your driver’s license does not show that as of the date of filing the petition, you must complete the affidavit of corroborating witness. A friend with an issued date greater than six months on his Florida license must sign the affidavit.
Sign and notarize all documents after they have been completed. Make two copies of each document. Staple each documents pages together, then clip a copy of each document in a pile. You should have three piles – the original and two copies.
Bring all the documents and the filing fee ($409 as of April 2011) to the clerk of court. The Brevard County clerk has five offices: North Brevard Service Complex, Melbourne Courthouse, Moore Justice Center, Merritt Island Office and Palm Bay Office. Use the office closest to you. Hand the documents to the family law clerk. The clerk will stamp the documents and keep the originals. It will hand you back two sets of copies. One set of copies should have two summons on it. Give this set to the process server or sheriff. The clerk of court has list of acceptable process servers. The process server or sheriff will serve the documents on your spouse. If he does not respond within the appropriate time, visit the clerk’s office and request a clerk’s default.
If you are using the website to obtain the forms, you will need Adobe Reader to view and print the forms. If you have a professional version of Adobe, you can fill out the forms and save them. If you have only the Reader, you must print the forms after you fill them out – Reader will not save the information you entered into the forms. You must have one of the professional versions of Adobe to save typed-in information.
If you have minor children, both parents must take the parenting course. The clerks office will provide you with a list of locations. If you have extenuating circumstances, where you cannot take the course in person, alert the clerk, and it will give you the appropriate documents to file to request that you take the course over the Internet. If you have not completed the parenting course, the court will not grant the divorce.