Let’s start with a simple proposition: Each party involved in a family law case should make sure that the clerk of the court has updated contact information for that party. It seems easy, but taking this small step could prevent big headaches in the future.
I have heard of cases where a party has moved in the middle of the case, did not inform anyone, then complained afterwards that he had not received notice of an important hearing. I also have seen cases where a petitioner (the party initiating the case) provides the clerk with the wrong address for the respondent (the party responding to the petition), and the clerk sends information to the incorrect address for the entire duration of the case.
I have even encountered this scenario: Parties get divorced. In the final judgment, Husband is required to pay Wife alimony. After the divorce, Wife moves to a different apartment in the same apartment complex. Husband sends alimony payments to Wife’s old address, but they get delivered to the new addressed because Postal Worker knows and likes Wife (and especially the gift certificates to Best Buy that Wife gives to Postal Worker each Christmas).
Several years later, Husband files a supplemental petition to modify his alimony obligation. Husband uses the old address on the summons, but Process Server, after running into Postal Worker, serves Wife at her new address. Shortly thereafter, Postal Worker moves, and Wife does not receive any further documents (or alimony payments) from the clerk or the Husband. Because Wife did not keep her address current with the clerk, Wife is simply SOL.
Keep in mind that not only is it a good idea to keep your contact information current with the clerk even after the case is over, but often times you are mandated to keep your information current by the terms of your parenting plan or settlement agreement.
You can find a general notice of current address here. Often times, counties or circuits will have a specific form that they like to use. You can find the Hillsborough County / 13th Judicial Circuit’s Request to Change Contact Information here. In Pasco County, you can use the Change of Address form, available here (you should note that “Plaintiff” is the equivalent of “Petitioner,” and “Defendant” is the equivalent of “Respondent”).
If you are looking to retain a Florida family law attorney in connection with a modification of final judgment or other family law matter, you may schedule a consultation by calling The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or filling out our contact form.