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MIAMI v. BROWARD: Does it matter where my case is filed?

Where your case is filed makes a world of difference as to strategy, expediency, and services. Most of the time, you will not have an option as to where to begin your case as there are jurisdictional requirements as to where your case can begin. These differences are strikingly apparent when you file a Family matter in Broward county as opposed to Miami-Dade County. Whether it is a child support matter, divorce, or a modification, both court systems have benefits and disadvantages.

                For child support matters through the Department of Revenue (DOR) that occur in Broward, there is an administrative rule (basically an ‘in-house’ rule) that can complicate your case as opposed to Miami-Dade County. Under Administrative Rule 2014-22-UFC, you are not allowed to transfer your child support case outside of the control of DOR. Basically, what that means is that if you have a child support case with DOR, your petition for timesharing and modification of child support will be met with a motion to dismiss AND it will likely BE dismissed. This is unlike Miami-Dade County that allows for the transfer of the cases, meaning that, under certain circumstances, you can address both child support through DOR and timesharing at the same time. This very subtle difference can determine the long-term strategy as to how you handle your case.

                A huge difference between the Counties regarding Family Law matters is the implementation of the Status Quo Order. In Miami-Dade County, the Chief Judge has instituted a standing order throughout the County that a Family matter filed with the Court falls under the protection of a status quo order immediately upon filing of the petition. In a nutshell, it allows for certain protections from the Court without the need of a hearing or a separate motion. This is not the case in Broward. In Broward County, you would have to work fast and file the necessary motions to establish these certain protections.

                Both counties do offer family assistance programs regarding counseling (Broward County- FACES; Miami-Dade County – Family Court Services), but Miami-Dade County’s Family Court Services program is more extensive and offers some of these programs at no cost. However, this program acts as a “double edge sword” in most cases as these programs tend to delay the cases to a crawl and have been known to delay cases for several months before moving the cases forward. Each County is different in its own way and knowing how to navigate the court system of each County is vital to the overall strategy and outcome of your case.