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Finding Court Records in Florida

Florida Courts Overview

It helps to understand how the Florida state court system works when you’re trying to find court records. The Florida trial court system consists of Circuit Courts, County Courts, and Miami-Dade County Courts.

Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but typically handle cases beyond the jurisdiction of County Courts. County Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. Miami-Dade County has a different organizational structure for its trial court system and divides jurisdiction between courts differently than the rest of the state.

If you prefer, you can start your search by going to Florida Courts by County.

Florida Circuit Courts

Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but typically only handle cases beyond the jurisdiction of County Courts.

Criminal cases handled by Circuit Courts include felonies and lesser-included offenses.

Civil cases handled by Circuit Courts include general civil claims for more than $15,000, exclusive of interest, costs or attorney fees. Circuit Courts handle some landlord-tenant cases, all actions involving the title or boundaries of real property and most cases that seek injunctive relief.

Circuit Courts also handle abuse prevention orders, family law cases, probate matters, mental health cases and juvenile matters. Family law cases heard by Circuit Courts include divorce, child custody and child support. Probate cases include wills, trusts, estates and guardianships. Mental Health cases include involuntary hospitalization. Juvenile cases include child protection cases and most juvenile delinquency cases.

County Courts generally handle juvenile traffic offenses and also offer a simplified procedure for some divorce cases.

Miami-Dade County has a different organizational structure for its trial court system and divides jurisdiction between courts differently than the rest of the state.

Florida County Courts

County Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.

Criminal cases heard by County Courts include most misdemeanors and violations of municipal and county ordinances. County Courts also handle some juvenile traffic cases.

County Courts handle most civil and equity cases when the amount in controversy is less than $15,000, exclusive of interest, costs or attorney fees. County Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over disputes in certain homeowners' associations and most landlord-tenant cases. County Courts also offer a simplified Small Claims procedure for eligible general civil claims within financial limits.

County Courts also handle simplified or uncontested divorce and civil dissolution cases.

County Courts may issue temporary orders for emergency hospitalization if the Circuit Court judge for the county is unavailable and if jurisdiction to issue temporary orders is authorized by the Circuit Court.

Miami-Dade County has a different organizational structure for its trial court system and divides jurisdiction between courts differently than the rest of the state.

Florida Miami-Dade County Courts

Courts in Miami-Dade County are organized differently than courts in other Florida counties.

In Miami-Dade County, the jurisdiction of Circuit Court and County Court is combined and organized into several divisions, including Civil Court, Criminal Court, Family Court, Juvenile Court and Traffic Court.

The Civil Court division is organized into sections for Circuit Civil and County Civil cases. The Circuit Civil section handles most civil cases when the amount in dispute is more than $15,000. The County Civil section offers a simplified Small Claims procedure for most cases with less than $5000 in dispute. The County Civil section also handles general civil cases with up to $15,000 in dispute and landlord-tenant cases.

The Criminal Court division is organized into sections for Circuit Criminal and County Criminal cases. The Circuit Criminal section handles felonies and related criminal cases. The County Criminal section handles misdemeanor criminal cases, certain civil infractions and municipal ordinance violations. Some county ordinance violations will be handled by the Code Enforcement office.

The Family Court division handles domestic relations and probate cases. Cases typically heard in Family Courts include divorce, dissolution of marriage, child custody, child support, paternity, adoption, name change, estates, guardianships and mental health cases.

The Juvenile Court division handles juvenile delinquency and juvenile dependency cases, including termination of parental rights.

The Traffic Court division handles all traffic citations.

In addition to the court divisions, Miami-Dade County also has separate District Courts with limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases. District Courts handle some civil cases within Circuit Court and County Court jurisdiction, including general civil, small claims, divorce and name changes. District Courts also handle traffic offenses and parking violations.

District Courts operate in Caleb, Coral Gables, Hialeah, North Dade Justice Center, South Dade Justice Center and the Sweetwater Sub-Office.

Where to Find Court Cases in Florida

The chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of Florida court.

Most Cases = Most or all cases.     Some Cases = Some cases.

Case Type Court Type
Civil Circuit Courts County Courts
General Civil - Unlimited Most or All Cases  
General Civil - Limited Some Cases Most or All Cases
Small Claims   Most or All Cases
Civil Equity Most or All Cases Some Cases
Complex Commercial Most or All Cases  
Foreclosures and Liens Some Cases Some Cases
Real Estate Title and Boundary Most or All Cases  
Landlord / Tenant Some Cases Some Cases
Ordinance Violations   Most or All Cases
Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders Most or All Cases  
Administrative Agency Appeals Most or All Cases  
Criminal Circuit Courts County Courts
Felony Most or All Cases  
Felony Preliminary Hearings Most or All Cases Some Cases
Misdemeanors Some Cases Most or All Cases
Ordinance Violations   Most or All Cases
Juvenile Most or All Cases Some Cases
Traffic and Infractions   Most or All Cases
Domestic Relations Circuit Courts County Courts
Divorce Most or All Cases Some Cases
Child Custody and Visitation Most or All Cases  
Child Support Most or All Cases  
Paternity Most or All Cases  
Domestic Violence Protection Order Most or All Cases  
Juvenile Circuit Courts County Courts
Adoptions Most or All Cases  
Juvenile Delinquency Most or All Cases Some Cases
Child Abuse and Neglect Most or All Cases  
Termination of Parental Rights Most or All Cases  
Children in Need of Supervision Most or All Cases  
Mental Health Circuit Courts County Courts
Involuntary Commitments Most or All Cases  
Other Mental Health Cases Most or All Cases  
Probate Circuit Courts County Courts
Wills & Estates Most or All Cases  
Name Changes Most or All Cases  
Trusts Most or All Cases  
Guardianships and Conservatorships Most or All Cases  

Note: Some courts in Florida are not included in the chart above. Please use the following links for descriptions and types of cases heard:
 
  Miami-Dade County Courts

Find Florida Courts by County

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