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In re Amendments To The Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms-12.913(A)(3)

Supreme Court of Florida

June 21, 2018

IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT APPROVED FAMILY LAW FORMS-12.913(a)(3).

          Original Proceeding - Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms

          PER CURIAM.

         Pursuant to the procedures approved in Amendments to the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure & Family Law Forms, 810 So.2d 1, 13-14 (Fla. 2000), this Court has internally reviewed the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms and has decided that amendments to the existing forms are needed, as well as development of a new form. Input was received from the Advisory Workgroup on the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms, which provided valuable assistance. We have jurisdiction, [1] and create new form 12.913(a)(3) (Notice of Action for Termination of Parental Rights and Stepparent Adoption) and amend the existing forms as follows.

         First, forms 12.902(j) (Notice of Social Security Number) and 12.913(a)(2) (Notice of Action for Family Cases with Minor Child(ren)) are amended to add the phrase "or dependent" after "minor" as needed to more accurately represent the proper use for each form; the title of form 12.913(a)(2) is similarly amended to read "Notice of Action for Family Cases with Minor or Dependent Child(ren)." Additionally, the instructions to forms 12.902(j) and 12.980(h) (Request for Confidential Filing of Address) are amended to clarify procedures to make certain information required by those forms confidential, pursuant to Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420. The instructions to forms 12.913(a)(2) and 12.921 (Notice of Hearing (Child Support Enforcement Hearing Officer)) are also amended to clarify when each form should be used and eliminate confusion as to when similarly numbered forms should be used. Form 12.921 is further amended to add language advising litigants whether a hearing will be electronically recorded or if a court reporter will be provided by the court to transcribe the hearing.

         Next, form 12.915 (Designation of Current Mailing and E-Mail Address) is amended to add language allowing a litigant to indicate whether he or she is designating an e-mail or mailing address. Form 12.924 (Notice for Trial) is also amended to add language indicating the estimated length of the trial, as required by Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.440(b) (Setting Action for Trial; Notice for Trial).

         Last, we create new form 12.913(a)(3) (Notice of Action for Termination of Parental Rights and Stepparent Adoption). This form should be used to obtain constructive service, as required by section 63.088(6), Florida Statutes (2017), in conjunction with form 12.981(b)(1) (Joint Petition for Adoption by Stepparent).

         The amended forms and new form 12.913(a)(3) are hereby adopted as set forth in the appendix to this opinion, fully engrossed. The amendments to the forms shall become effective immediately upon the release of this opinion and may be accessed and downloaded from the Florida State Courts' website at http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/court-improvement/family-courts/family-law-forms.stml. By adoption of the new and amended forms, we express no opinion as to their correctness or applicability. We also direct that the amended and new forms be published for comment. Interested persons shall have sixty days from the date of this opinion to file comments with the Court.[2]

         It is so ordered.

          LABARGA, C.J., and PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, CANADY, POLSTON, and LAWSON, JJ., concur.

         THE FILING OF A MOTION FOR REHEARING SHALL NOT ALTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THESE AMENDMENTS.

         APPENDIX

         INSTRUCTIONS FOR FLORIDA SUPREME COURT APPROVED FAMILY LAW FORM 12.902(j),

         NOTICE OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER

         (06/18)

         When should this form be used?

         This form must be completed and filed by each party in all paternity, child support, and dissolution of marriage cases, regardless of whether the case involves a minor child(ren) and/or property.

         This form should be typed or printed in black ink. After completing this form, you should file the original with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where your case was filed and keep a copy for your records.

         CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

         Under Rule 2.420 of the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, Social Security Numbers are confidential; however, this information is required by the Florida Statutes. A Notice of Confidential Information within Court Filing must be filed with the Notice of Social Security Number. This Notice is an appendix to rule 2.420.

         IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING E-FILING

         The Florida Rules of Judicial Administration now require that all petitions, pleadings, and documents be filed electronically except in certain circumstances. Self-represented litigants may file petitions or other pleadings or documents electronically; however, they are not required to do so. If you choose to file your pleadings or other documents electronically, you must do so in accordance with Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.525, and you must follow the procedures of the judicial circuit in which you file. The rules and procedures should be carefully read and followed.

         What should I do next?

         A copy of this form must be mailed, e-mailed, or hand delivered to the other party in your case, if it is not served on him or her with your initial papers.

         IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING E-SERVICE ELECTION

         After the initial service of process of the petition or supplemental petition by the Sheriff or certified Instructions for Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.902(j), Notice of Social Security Number (06/18) process server, the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration now require that all documents required or permitted to be served on the other party must be served by electronic mail (e-mail) except in certain circumstances. You must strictly comply with the format requirements set forth in the Rules of Judicial Administration. If you elect to participate in electronic service, which means serving or receiving pleadings by electronic mail (e-mail), or through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, you must review Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516. You may find this rule at www.flcourts.org through the link to the Rules of Judicial Administration provided under either Family Law Forms: Getting Started, or Rules of Court in the A-Z Topical Index.

         SELF-REPRESENTED LITIGANTS MAY SERVE DOCUMENTS BY E-MAIL; HOWEVER, THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED TO DO SO. If a self-represented litigant elects to serve and receive documents by e-mail, the procedures must always be followed once the initial election is made.

         To serve and receive documents by e-mail, you must designate your e-mail addresses by using the Designation of Current Mailing and E-mail Address, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.915, and you must provide your e-mail address on each form on which your signature appears. Please CAREFULLY read the rules and instructions for: Certificate of Service (General), Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.914; Designation of Current Mailing and E-mail Address, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.915; and Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516.

         Where can I look for more information?

         Before proceeding, you should read General Information for Self-Represented Litigants found at the beginning of these forms. The words that are in "bold underline" in these instructions are defined there. For further information, see chapter 61, Florida Statutes.

         Special notes...

         If this is a domestic violence case and you want to keep your address confidential for safety reasons, do not enter the address, telephone, fax, or e-mail information at the bottom of this form. Instead, file a Request for Confidential Filing of Address, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.980(i).

         Remember, a person who is NOT an attorney is called a nonlawyer. If a nonlawyer helps you fill out these forms, that person must give you a copy of a Disclosure from Nonlawyer, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.900(a), before he or she helps you. A nonlawyer helping you fill out these forms also must put his or her name, address, and telephone number on the bottom of the last page of every form he or she helps you complete.

         INSTRUCTIONS FOR FLORIDA SUPREME COURT APPROVED FAMILY LAW FORM 12.913(a)(2)

         NOTICE OF ACTION FOR FAMILY CASES WITH MINOR OR DEPENDENT CHILD(REN)

         (06/18)

         When should this form be used?

         This form may be used to obtain constructive service (also called service by publication) in an action involving a parenting plan for minor or dependent child(ren) under chapter 61, Florida Statutes; an action to determine temporary custody by extended family under chapter 751, Florida Statutes; and termination of a legal father's parental rights when another man is alleged to be the biological father. "Parenting plan" means a document created to govern the relationship between the parents relating to decisions that must be made regarding the minor or dependent child and must contain a time-sharing schedule for the parents and child. Section 61.046(14), Florida Statutes.

         You may use constructive service if you do not know where the other party lives or if the other party lives outside Florida and you are unable to obtain personal service. Constructive notice will allow the court to grant the relief requested, but personal service is required before a court can order payment or termination of child support, spousal support (alimony), or costs. If you are asking the court to decide how real or personal property located in Florida should be divided, the Notice of Action must include a specific description of the property. If you use constructive service, the court can grant only limited relief because its jurisdiction is limited. This is a complicated area of the law and you should consult an attorney before using constructive service.

         You should complete this form by typing or printing the appropriate information in black ink. You must insert the other party's name and last known address and then file this form with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where your petition was filed. You must also complete and file an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry. Use Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.913(b) unless you are serving the legal father in a paternity case where another man is alleged to be the biological father, or the case involves parental responsibility, custody, or timesharing, in which case, you must use Form 12.913(c). You should keep a copy for your records.

         IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING E-FILING

         The Florida Rules of Judicial Administration now require that all petitions, pleadings, and documents be filed electronically except in certain circumstances. Self-represented litigants may file petitions or other pleadings or documents electronically; however, they are not required to do so. If you choose to file your pleadings or other documents electronically, you must do so in accordance with Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.525, and you must follow the procedures of the judicial circuit in which you file. The rules and procedures should be carefully read and followed.

         What should I do next?

         After the Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry, Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.913(c), is filed, the clerk will sign this form. You will need to publish notice once each week for four consecutive weeks in a "qualified" newspaper in the county where the case is pending. When in doubt, ask the clerk which newspapers are "qualified." The newspaper will charge you for this service. If you cannot afford to pay the cost of publishing this notice, you may ask the clerk to post the notice at a place designated for such postings. You will need to file an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status, which you can obtain from the clerk. If the clerk determines that you cannot afford these costs, the clerk will post the notice of action. If your case involves termination of a legal father's parental rights when another man is alleged to be the biological father, you need to publish the notice only in the county where the legal father was last known to have resided. You are responsible for locating a "qualified" newspaper in the county where the other party last resided and paying the cost of publication.

         Where can I look for ...


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