To test the practicality and effectiveness of these recommendations, four courts ranging in geographical location and size piloted the recommended FJI principles to demonstrate their feasibility in practice and effects on key outcomes for domestic relations cases. In working with the FJI demonstration sites, project staff found that jurisdictions often already implemented several strategies aligned with the FJI principles and serve to support families throughout their domestic relations case.
Demonstration site locations
King County, Washington
In King County (Seattle) Washington (2.23 million population), Domestic Relations cases are heard in Superior Court. When children are involved, the cases are heard in the Family Court; divorces without children are heard by other judges. There were 8,682 Domestic Relations petitions filed per year in 2017.
Miami-Dade County, Florida
In Miami, Florida (2.76 million population), Domestic Relations cases are heard by the Family Court Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida (Miami-Dade County). The Family Court Division handles dissolution of marriage, paternity/parentage, child support, temporary support/alimony, adoptions, and name change. There is also Unified Children’s Court that operates the One Family, One Judge model and has jurisdiction over related family law matters from cases in Family Court, Juvenile Court, and the Domestic Violence Division. There were 32,305 Domestic Relations petitions filed per year in 2017.
The Hon. Scott M. Bernstein Presiding Judge, Family Division
Cuyahoga County, Ohio
In Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio (population of 1.24M), divorce, dissolution, custody, child support, and domestic violence cases are heard in the Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division. (Paternity, parental rights, and child custody with never married parents are heard in the Juvenile Division.) There are approximately 7,700 Domestic Relations cases filed per year.
Pima County, Arizona
In Pima County (Tucson), Arizona (population of 1.02M), domestic relations cases are heard in the Superior Court. The Family Law Bench handles all domestic relations matters, including divorce or legal separation, parenting plans, paternity, child or spousal support, and protective orders. There are approximately 5,000-6,000 Domestic Relations cases filed per year.