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Tampa Bay Clerks of the Court Slow to Implement e-Filing

You may have heard of the term “paperless office,” where documents are stored on networks and hard drives rather than in physical drawers and filing cabinets.  The advantages of the paperless office over traditional means of storing documents include the following: money is saved on paper and postage; space is saved from bulky file cabinets; trees are saved from being cut down; and time is saved by quick transmittal of documents via e-mail.  This usually also translates to savings for the customer or client.

Well, the Florida Courts have set their sights on a paperless court system.  This starts out with e-filing (the filing of documents via the internet rather than dropping off paper copies).  e-Filing began through Florida’s e-Filing Portal in January 2012, and the clerks of the Court have set a goal to have all counties accepting e-filing for their civil (non-criminal) divisions through the Portal by July 1, 2012.

Many counties have been quick to implement e-filing through the Portal.  In fact, according to a presentation provided at the February 1, 2012, e-Filing Authority Board Meeting, 41 counties now accept at least some filing electronically through the portal.  Polk County is included in these counties, though it does not yet accept e-filing for family law cases.

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Hillsborough County Intends to Implement e-Filing by March 2012

Members of the Florida Bar have long been making the case for e-filing, or the ability to file documents through the internet rather than filing a physical copy with the clerk of the court.  E-filing holds the promise of reducing the time and costs associated with interacting with the clerk.  The Florida Supreme Court authorized e-filing through the Florida Court’s e-filing portal, which became active for some counties on January 1, 2011.

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Name Change: Where do I petition?

If you are looking to legally change your name you may be wondering:  Where do I file a petition?  Do I have to go to Tallahassee?  Do I file in the circuit court of the county where I was born?  Can I request that a circuit court in the county where I live change my name?

Section 68.07, Florida Statutes, and relevant case law, provides an answer…

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Many Local Courts Will Be Closed In Observance of Presidents’ Day

Most of the local courthouses will be closed on February 21, 2011, in observance of Presidents’ Day.  Closed courthouses include those located in the following judicial circuits:

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Can’t Find Your Spouse? Check For Mug Shots.

One of the first steps in initiating a divorce or other proceeding is to have a petition and other papers served on the other party (the “Respondent”).  Sometimes the Respondent does not want to be found.  Other times, the Respondent is, well, in the slammer.  So how do you find out whether he or she is behind bars?

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Mediation FAQs

The Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Florida (DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties) provides the following FAQs for family mediation:

What is Family Mediation?

Family Mediation is an informal meeting where the parties work out mutually agreeable settlements in Family Court cases.  Parties have the opportunity to explore options and negotiate voluntary agreements that may be submitted to the Court for approval.

Who participates?

Family Mediation provides an opportunity for parties involved in family litigation to engage in a facilitated discussion about the specific issues in their case.  Counsel for each party may attend the conference.  Other third parties may only participate if both sides agree.

What issues can be discussed?

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Enforcement: Support Awards From Different Florida Counties

If a circuit court in Miami-Dade county ordered a parent to pay child support, that order may be enforced in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Hernando, Manatee, or any other county in Florida (so long as one party lives in that county). Along the same lines, alimony awards entered in one Florida county may be enforced in another Florida county.

Section 61.17, Florida Statutes, provides the basis for such enforcement.