Family court is where claims for divorce, child custody, and child support are heard. They also hear cases of adoption and domestic violence. If you need to file a claim—or you have been served with custody, visitation, or support papers—you'll want to understand the rules and procedures involved.
Your family law case can be about a wide range of issues, from a name change to spousal support to juvenile delinquency. Your case could also involve legal separation or establishing parentage. Maybe you need a restraining order, or your issue concerns the termination of parental rights. Each state has its own laws and procedures for obtaining a court order.
The following is a list of state-specific family court resources, including access to forms and helpful guides. On these web pages, you should find contact information for each state's court system. These websites might have information about court records or e-filing tools. Access these pages for information on local rules that apply to your state.
State Family Court Information
Circuit courts have jurisdiction over domestic relations cases. There are 41 courts with 146 judges in the state.
The superior court is the trial court of general jurisdiction which handles domestic relations matters. There are 45 superior court judgeships located in one of the four judicial districts.
The Arizona Superior Court, the state's general jurisdiction court, has jurisdiction over the dissolution or annulment of marriages. It has locations in each county with at least one superior court judge.
Arkansas circuit courts are general jurisdiction trial courts that consist of five subject matter divisions: criminal, civil, probate, domestic relations, and juvenile.
The California Superior Court hears all family law matters.
In Colorado, the District Court is a court of general jurisdiction, handling domestic relations cases, among others.
Judicial District Courthouses of the Connecticut Superior Court hear family matters.
The Delaware Family Court is a unified statewide Court with branches in Kent County at Dover, New Castle County at Wilmington, and Sussex County at Georgetown.
District of Columbia
The Family Court is a division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. It is a trial court with general jurisdiction over domestic matters.
The Florida Family Court is a unified statewide Court.
The superior court is Georgia's general jurisdiction trial court, with jurisdiction over divorce cases, among others. Superior courts are organized into 10 Judicial Districts, comprised of 49 judicial circuits.
Hawaii state courts operate within a totally integrated system with court rules, procedures, and forms consistent throughout all jurisdictions. The Family Court in each circuit hears legal matters involving children and families.
Idaho district courts can hear domestic relations cases, but in most counties, they are heard in Magistrate Courts.
The Unified Trial Court in Illinois is the Circuit Court, the court of "original jurisdiction." There are twenty-four circuits in the state, six of which are single-county circuits (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will). The remaining 18 circuits contain two to 12 counties per circuit.
In Indiana, there are no separate family courts, so the superior courts have divisions within them that handle family law cases. The majority of Indiana trial courts are superior courts, and almost all Indiana counties have superior courts.
The district court has general jurisdiction over domestic relations cases. Iowa is divided into eight judicial districts.
District courts are the trial courts of Kansas, with general original jurisdiction over domestic relations cases. Kansas is divided into judicial districts, but there is a district court in each county.
Kentucky Family Court is a division of the Circuit Court, Kentucky's highest trial court level.
Family matters are typically handled in district court. However, East Baton Rouge Parish does have a family court that is separate from its district court.
Maine District Court has a Family Division with jurisdiction over family cases. The District Court has 38 judges who hold court in eight regions throughout Maine.
Maryland's circuit courts have developed special case management procedures for family law cases. There are family divisions in each of its five largest jurisdictions, and family services programs in the remaining 19 counties.
Massachusetts Family and Probate courts have jurisdiction over family law cases. There are 14 divisions.
The Family Division of the Circuit Court handles domestic relations cases, and the Friend of the Court office within the family division handles cases where minor children are involved. There are 57 circuit courts in Michigan.
In Minnesota, all types of civil cases, including family matters, are heard in the trial or district court. Trial courts are organized into 10 judicial districts with 296 judges.
The Mississippi Chancery Court has jurisdiction over divorce, support/custody, and paternity matters, among others. The state is divided into 20 Chancery Court districts.
The family division of Missouri Circuit Courts handles family matters. There are 46 judicial circuits, with a court in every county.
Montana District Court has exclusive jurisdiction over domestic relations matters. It has 46 judges in 56 district courts.
Nebraska has 93 County Courts in 12 districts, which have concurrent jurisdiction (along with the District Courts in rare instances) over family law cases. Three counties have separate juvenile courts.
The District Court has jurisdiction over family matters. The 17 county courts in Nevada are divided into 11 Judicial Districts presided over by 82 judges.
The Circuit Court Family Division has jurisdiction over domestic relations cases. They have 28 locations in 10 counties.
Family-related cases are heard in the Family Division of the Superior Court.
The District Court has jurisdiction over domestic relations matters. There are 102 judges who preside over 13 different districts.
The Family Court is established in each county and the City of New York to hear matters involving children and families. In New York City, each of the five boroughs has its own Family Court.
Trial courts, or District Courts, have jurisdiction over family law cases. In addition, North Carolina currently has Family Court programs in 15 districts covering 27 counties.
The district courts are the courts of general jurisdiction in North Dakota and have general jurisdiction for civil cases, including family. The state is divided into seven judicial districts and has a district court in each of the state's 53 counties.
In Ohio, the Domestic Relations Division of the Common Pleas Court has jurisdiction over family law cases.
The Oklahoma Court System has 77 District Courts which have jurisdiction over civil and juvenile cases. Administrative services for the Court System are provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The circuit court is Oregon's trial court of general jurisdiction and hears domestic cases, among others. Each of Oregon's 36 counties has a circuit court.
In Pennsylvania, the Court of Common Pleas has 60 judicial districts. The Courts of Common Pleas are Pennsylvania's courts of general trial jurisdiction. The Family Division is one of three major divisions.
The Family Court, with one Chief Judge, 11 Associate Justices, and nine magistrates, has jurisdiction to hear all petitions for divorce.
The uniform statewide Family Court system has exclusive jurisdiction over all matters involving domestic or family relationships. Each of the 16 judicial circuits has at least two family court judges.
The circuit courts are the general trial courts of the South Dakota Unified Judicial System and have original jurisdiction in all domestic relations cases. There are 44 circuit judges serving in the seven circuits.
Tennessee is home to 98 juvenile courts with 109 juvenile court judges and 45 magistrates. Of these 98 courts, 17 are designated "Private Act" juvenile courts, while the remaining 81 are general session courts with juvenile jurisdiction. Each court, with the exception of Bristol and Johnson City, is county-based and administered with at least one juvenile court located in each of the state's 95 counties. The Circuit Court, with 98 judges, is the court of general jurisdiction. It hears domestic relations cases but shares equal standing with the Criminal and Chancery trial courts.
In Texas, district courts have original jurisdiction in divorce cases, among others. In the more densely populated counties, however, the courts may specialize in family law matters, for example.
The District Court is the state trial court of general jurisdiction and handles domestic relations cases. There are 70 full-time district judges serving in the state's eight judicial districts.
Each of Vermont's 14 counties has a Family Court. The court is responsible for all family-related legal matters.
The Circuit Court has jurisdiction over divorces. Additionally, there is a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in each city and county that hears all matters involving juveniles. The court system is composed of 31 judicial circuits with 120 circuit courts. There is a circuit court in each city and county in Virginia.
The superior courts in Washington State have exclusive jurisdiction for domestic relations cases. There are 32 superior court judicial districts in the 39 counties.
In November 2000, the voters passed a constitutional amendment to allow the Legislature to create separate family courts. There are now 47 family court judges who serve 27 family court circuits.
Circuit courts have original jurisdiction in civil cases such as divorce, property division, and child custody.
The district courts are the trial courts of general, unlimited jurisdiction in the state. The district judges preside over domestic relations matters.
Get More Information About Your State's Family Courts: Talk to an Attorney
As you can see, there are a variety of courts and procedures when it comes to resolving family law issues in different states. Thankfully, you don't need to navigate this process by yourself. Experienced family law attorneys understand how the process works in your state and can be your strongest advocate with the court.
Reach out to a local family law attorney today to discuss your situation and receive personalized legal advice.