Florida Allows Pro-Se filers to E-File Court Documents
In a long awaited move by the Florida court system e-filing is open for everyone since June 21st 2014. Before then only attorneys could e-file cases. This is a great advantage for non-attorneys and “paralegals” working for the general public.
E-filing new cases online in Florida has many benefits including the ability to obtain case numbers faster without a trip to the courthouse however pro-se filers should proceed with caution when filing on their own.
First because unless you are familiar with all the forms needed for your particular case it is unknown if the system is intuitive enough to give you an alert and let you know what you are missing. And the requirements may vary by county and type of case. For example, the forms required for a divorce without children vary greatly from a simple divorce but also a divorce in mutual agreement require different forms from a divorce by summons.
Second, every county has their additional forms and requirements which if not followed could cause delays in resolving their legal matter. For example, all divorces in Broward County require a form called Notice of Related Cases, even when no related cases exist; this same form is not required in divorce cases filed in Lee County unless there are related cases being filed. Also, the requirements for cases using constructive service (also known by publication, missing spouse cases) vary greatly county to county. Some cases require that hard copies of the final judgment and envelopes are mailed to the judge, knowing how many are required and where to send them will be the responsibility of the pro-se filer.
Third, if the forms are missing critical information the pro-se filer might not find out until some time has passed and a clerk or case manager has reviewed the case, holding the case hostage until the information missing is provided.
Since e filing in the State of Florida is new technology it is heavily advised to find an experienced Florida non-attorney (AKA Legal Document Preparer) who is also a member of the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers (FALDP). The FALDP is committed to the education and development of its members and conducts frequent webinars and training sessions, educating participants on changes relating to court processes. To find an experienced Legal Document Preparer go to FALDP’s website.
Article written by Yamil Francisco a Divorce Consultant in Florida with Apex Legal Document Preparation Services, their office is located in Pinecrest (SW Miami) 8353 SW 124th St Suite 204 Miami, FL. Their office hours are from 9-5pm Monday through Friday. While they are not attorneys and cannot provide any legal advice they are experts in preparing no-court divorces in Florida they can be reached at 888-771-3330 or through their website.