Below are the definition of various terms and phrases used during the divorce process:
Petitioner: The Petitioner is the spouse that files the initial divorce documents with the court to start the Florida divorce procedures.
Respondent: The Respondent is the initial non-filing spouse that does not file the initial Florida divorce papers with the court, but will receive a copy of the prepared divorce documents by service.
Primary or Initial Documents / Pleadings: These are the prepared documents required by the court to file initially in order to start the Florida Divorce matter. The required prepared documents vary depending on the type of divorce that is being filed, i.e. divorce with children or divorce without children, ect.
Court Clerk: The Court Clerk works at the Florida Circuit Court in which county you file your initial papers. The Court Clerk or their assistants help manage the court flow and paperwork processing. They also keep the parties and their attorneys, if they have an attorney, informed if there are additional documents that need to be filed, or if there are other requirements in the divorce process that need to be addressed. The Clerks will also advise of any hearing dates that have been scheduled.
Judge or Magistrate: The Judge or the Judge’s magistrate are individuals within the Florida Circuit Court that will hear any arguments between the parties, and will sign any final orders or judgments pertaining to a Florida Divorce procedure.
Residency or Filing Requirements: In order for a party to be eligible to file prepared divorce documents in the State of Florida, certain requirements by the court must be met, including residency requirements and certain requirements must be met in order to file in a certain Florida County.
Name of the Court: When a new Florida Divorce case is filed in the County in which one or both of the parties reside, the court will assign the new matter a case number and that particular County Court will have jurisdiction over the matter, including any hearings, post-judgment matters, filing process and any orders that concern the matter. The name of the County Court will appear on all pleadings in this format: IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF______, STATE OF FLORIDA.
Process Server: The process server is the individual who will be serving the initial prepared and filed divorce documents to the Respondent once the initial filing with the court has commenced.