To initiate dissolution of marriage in Bay County, either you or your spouse should reside in it. It would also be possible to bring the case to the local court if you have last lived in the county as a married couple.
It is still possible to divorce in Bay County if neither of you currently reside or ever resided there. To do it, you and your spouse need to both agree that the local circuit court may review your case.
The main residency requirement is for either of you to live in Florida for at least 6 months before bringing your case to court. You may be asked to prove your residency by showing a Florida ID or driver’s license.
How to File for Divorce in Bay County?
The process of filing for divorce in Bay County generally includes the following steps:
- Complete the paperwork specific to your family situation.
- Sign, notarize, and make copies of the documents.
- Get to the court and file your forms with the clerk.
- Gather the copies of the papers you filed and the forms you are required to serve.
- Ask a sheriff or a process server to give the abovementioned documents to your spouse.
- Attend the parenting course if you have children and submit the certificate of completion to the court.
- Exchange Financial Affidavits with your spouse as a part of mandatory disclosure.
- Contact the clerk inquiring about a hearing date at least 20 days after filing.
- Go to a hearing and bring the remaining documents with you.
- After the judge signs the Final Judgement, file the Final Disposition with the clerk.
This is how the filing process commonly goes when your divorce is uncontested. If you and your spouse have no minor children, and neither of you will be asking for alimony, you can reach a full agreement and get divorced using a simplified procedure. To do it, you need to file a joint Petition, along with the additional forms, and attend the hearing together.
In a contested case, when you and your spouse cannot agree on childcare, alimony, or division of assets, courts recommend that you hire a lawyer. The contested process will be more complicated than an uncontested one, and going through it without a legal professional will likely be challenging.
Bay County Divorce Papers
The Bay County divorce forms that the courts commonly require are:
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- Bay County Summons form
- Financial Affidavit
- Family Court Cover Sheet
- Notice of Social Security Number
- Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure
- Final Judgement
It is not a full list of documents that you may need to file. Additional paperwork will be required based on your situation, needs, and preferences.
If you have children, Bay County family court forms that you will need will likely include:
- Parenting Plan
- Child Support Guidelines Worksheet
- Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act
Note that it will be necessary to sign many of these documents in front of the notary and some in front of the deputy clerk. Otherwise, the paperwork will not be admissible in court.
Bay County Divorce Filing Fees
Bay County court filing fees are around $410. There might be additional minor payments required, such as those covering the cost of making copies. You may reach out to the clerk before visiting the court to ask about the exact sums and the ways you can pay court fees in Bay County.
As the fee is relatively high, courts acknowledge that not everyone can afford to pay them. Therefore, it is possible to request a waiver by getting an indigent status. If this is something you want to do, you may fill out a respective Application form and file it along with the other documents. Note that a court may decline your request to waive the fees if it finds that you do not meet the requirements.
Divorce Courts in Bay County, Florida
Bay County courts for divorce filing are the circuit courts as they are the ones that review marriage dissolution cases. Here is the address and the contact information of the Bay County family court:
Bay County, FL Divorce Circuit Court Information
Court Name: Circuit Court – Bay County, Family Law Division
Court Title: In the Circuit Court of Bay County, Alabama
Circuit Court Location: 300 East 4th Street, Panama, Florida 32401
Court Phone: 850-747-5211
Court Fax: 850-747-5629
Court Hours: 8am – 4:30pm
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