Family court is a court of limited jurisdiction and consists of a range of different cases involving families, children, domestic relationships, people with disabilities, guardians, custodians, and many others. Cambó, being licensed to practice in Florida and a member of the Family Law and Young Lawyers sections of the Florida Bar, says that in the Florida courts, family law matters are deemed to be proceedings in equity. He further breaks down and explains the distinctions between cases heard at Florida’s family court and those in general civil or criminal court.
Difference Between a Civil Case and a Criminal Case
The Florida Bar states that the legal system acknowledges two categories of law cases: civil and criminal. Civil cases typically involve a dispute over a “tort” or contract. The definition of tort is a civil wrong, or an infringement of a right, outside of a breach of contract where usually in the form of damages, a remedy may be obtained. On the other side, a criminal case is where the government, whether that be local, state, or federal, brings a lawsuit in the representation of all citizens against the accused or “defendant,” who is charged with a crime against society.
Florida’s Family Court Cases
According to the Florida Courts and the Rules of Judicial Administration, Rule 2.545, the following case types are heard in Florida’s family court:
Child Custody: This type of case involves determining a parent’s legal rights and responsibilities over a child’s care in terms of legal custody and physical custody based on the child’s best interest.
Child Support: Parents are responsible for providing financial support to their children. Child support is a court-ordered payment from person with a legal responsibility to financially support a child to another person with a legal responsibility for the child, on behalf of the child and for the benefit of that child. Child support is established according to the Florida Child Support Guidelines and is primarily calculated based on the legally responsible parties’ incomes and timesharing with the child to make sure both parents or other legally responsible party meets their financial obligations to benefit the child.
Adoption: The three types of adoption include independent addition, public agency adoption, and private agency adoption regarding parental rights over a child.
Paternity: The Florida Department of Revenue defines establishing paternity as identifying and establishing a child’s legal father and the child’s, the father’s, and the mother’s rights and benefits in relation to the child.
Judicial Waiver of Parental Notice of Termination of Pregnancy: These kinds of cases involve a minor desiring to terminate her pregnancy without granting knowledge or notice to a legal guardian or parents.
Dissolution of Marriage/Divorce: The process by which legally married spouses. Issues addressed during such a case commonly involve establishing a parenting plan for any minor children, determining financial support, and dividing and distributing any marital assets and property.
Alimony: Otherwise known as spousal support, alimony is a legal financial support obligation paid by one spouse to or on behalf of the other spouse for the other spouse’s living expenses.
Parenting Plan (Time-Sharing & Parental Responsibility): Parenting Plans, which include establishing time-sharing, parental responsibility, and other parental rights and obligations for the minor children, must be established under Florida law when a divorce or paternity case is litigated. According to Florida Statutes, section 61.13(2)(b), a parenting plan must meet specific requirements per the child’s best interests in order to receive the Court’s approval.
Domestic/Repeat/Sexual/Dating Violence: These cases involve a civil action initiated by a victim of domestic violence seeking an order from the court prohibiting the perpetrator from continuing their abuse and restraining their ability to contact the victim.
Emancipation of a Minor: Legal emancipation of a minor can take place after a minor reaches the age of sixteen, but before the age of eighteen when emancipation automatically happens, if the minor desires to be legally independent of his or her parents and treated as an adult for legal purposes.
Name Change: The action of an adult wanting to change their name legally.
About Matthew Cambó
Matthew Cambó is a family law attorney in Florida who has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2022 due to his exceptional focus on serving clients in family law matters. For the past six years, he has been working as an associate attorney with Leinoff & Lemos, P.A. His focus areas are marital and family law matters. In addition, Mr. Cambó is devoted to litigation, including divorce, child custody issues, relocation, alimony and child support matters, modification actions, business valuations, and paternity disputes.