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Correcting Your Birth Certificate in Florida

Since the passage of the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005, more and more Florida residents are finding that they cannot renew their Florida Driver’s License because the name printed on their birth certificate or social security card does not match the name they have been using.

It could be because they assumed the use of a name without changing any of their official  documents.  It could be because of a spelling error on the birth certificate or social security card. Or it could be because they have unknowingly been going by a name different from the name printed on their birth certificate.  These problems can usually be corrected by petitioning for a legal change of name.

Here’s an example:  I had a client whom I will refer to as “Jane Smith.”    She was born in New York, and now she lives in Pasco County, Florida.  She’s been known her whole life as Jane Smith, her parents always called her Jane Smith, and so, for good reason, she thought her name was Jane Smith.

One day, Jane helps her mother clean out her attic.  While going through some boxes, Jane finds a New York birth certificate for a “Jamie Smith.”  What is more, Jamie Smith’s date of birth is listed as one day earlier than the day Jane Smith has been celebrating her birthday.

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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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Pinellas County and Pasco County Post Court Holiday Schedule

The Pasco County, Florida, Clerk of the Court has posted Administrative Order 2011-032 PA/PI-CIR, which describes the holiday schedule for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pasco and Pinellas Counties:

RE: COURT HOLIDAYS – 2012

In accordance with the State Courts System Personnel Regulations, the following will be official court holidays for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in 2012.

NEW YEAR’S HOLIDAY Monday, January 2
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY Monday, January 16
GOOD FRIDAY Friday, April 6
MEMORIAL DAY Monday, May 28

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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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Keep Your Contact Information Current with the Clerk of the Court, Even After Your Family Law Case is Closed

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).

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Procedures for Mediation in Pasco and Pinellas Counties

The Sixth Judicial Circuit (Pasco and Pinellas Counties) recently released Administrative Order 2011-006 PA/PI-CIR which sets out the following procedures for mediation in family law matters:

Family Mediation:

a. When ordered by the presiding judge, or when automatically referred to mediation in accordance with this Administrative Order, parties must participate in mediation of family cases. Read more

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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Filing Fees in Pasco County

I previous wrote about filing fees in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County.  In this post I review current filing fees in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pasco County, for common family law matters.  A person who initiates a family law case (the “Petitioner”) will pay the following:

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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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Reminder: Pasco County Offering Complimentary Valentine’s Day Wedding Ceremony

As I reported in an earlier post, the Pasco County Clerk is offering a complimentary wedding ceremony tomorrow for those who have already purchased a marriage license and made reservations.

Complimentary Valentine's Day Group Wedding Ceremony in Pasco County

Pasco County offers free wedding ceremony on Valentine's Day

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