IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT APPROVED FAMILY LAW FORMS—FORM 12.961

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Supreme Court of Florida.

IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT APPROVED FAMILY LAW FORMS—FORM 12.961

No. SC17-1947

Decided: December 14, 2017

Pursuant to the procedures approved by this Court in Amendments to the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure and 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 determined that amendments to form 12.961 (Notice of Hearing on Motion for Contempt/Enforcement), are needed in light of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Turner v. Rogers, 564 U.S. 431 (2011), and the current provisions of Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.615 (Civil Contempt in Support Matters). Input on these issues was received from the Advisory Workgroup on the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms, which provided valuable assistance. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 2(a), Fla. Const.

The amendments to form 12.961 add language to the form in order to clearly notify an alleged contemnor that his or her present ability to pay is a critical issue in the proceeding and that he or she will be provided an opportunity during the contempt hearing to respond to allegations and questions about his or her financial status. Additionally, to conform to current requirements under rule 12.615, the form is amended to advise the alleged contemnor whether the proceedings will be recorded electronically or by a court reporter.

The amended form is adopted as set forth in the appendix to this opinion, fully engrossed and ready for use. The form shall become effective immediately upon release of this opinion. The form may be accessed and downloaded from the Florida State Court's website at http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/court-improvement/problem-solving-courts/family-courts/family-law-forms.stml. By adoption of the form, we express no opinion as to its correctness or applicability. We also direct that the amended form be published for comment. Interested persons shall have sixty days from the date of this opinion to file comments with the Court.1

It is so ordered.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR FLORIDA SUPREME COURT APPROVED FAMILY LAW

FORM 12.961

NOTICE OF HEARING ON MOTION FOR CONTEMPT/ENFORCEMENT

IN SUPPORT MATTERS (RULE 12.615)

(12/17)

When should this form be used?

Use this form anytime you have set a hearing on a Motion for Contempt/Enforcement, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.960, for a support matter under rule 12.615, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure. Before you fill out this form, you should coordinate a hearing time and date with the judge or hearing officer and the other party. If the Department of Revenue is a party to the case, you may need to schedule your hearing time with the attorney for the Department of Revenue.

If your case is to be heard by a child support enforcement hearing officer, the following information applies: A child support enforcement hearing officer is an attorney who has been appointed by administrative order of the court to take testimony and recommend decisions in cases involving the establishment, enforcement, and/or modification of child support, and the enforcement of alimony in conjunction with an ongoing child support arrearage order. If your case only involves issues pertaining to child support, you cannot object to the referral of your case to a hearing officer. If your case is going to be heard by a general magistrate, you should use Notice of Hearing Before General Magistrate, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.920(c).

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.

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 personally served by a sheriff or private process server, mailed*, e-mailed*, or hand delivered to any other party(ies) in your case. *Please note that if notice is mailed, the court in certain circumstances may not consider mailing to be adequate notice. This is a technical area of the law; if you have any questions about it, you should consult a lawyer. For more information on personal service, see the instructions for Summons: Personal Service on an Individual, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.910(a).

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING E-SERVICE ELECTION

After the initial service of process of the petition or supplemental petition by the Sheriff or certified 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 or 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. For further information, see rules 12.615 and 12.941, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.

Special notes

An attorney who has been appointed by the court to serve as a child support enforcement hearing officer can also be appointed to serve as a general magistrate. If your case involves only child support issues, your case properly may be referred to a general magistrate acting as a child support enforcement hearing officer.

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 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.

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FOOTNOTES

1.   All comments must be filed with the Court on or before February 12, 2018, as well as a separate request for oral argument if the person filing the comment wishes to participate in oral argument, which may be scheduled in this case. If filed by an attorney in good standing with The Florida Bar, the comment must be electronically filed via the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal (Portal) in accordance with In re Electronic Filing in the Supreme Court of Florida via theFlorida Courts E-Filing Portal, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC13-7 (Feb. 18, 2013). If filed by a nonlawyer or a lawyer not licensed to practice in Florida, the comment may be, but is not required to be, filed via the Portal. Comments filed via the Portal must be submitted in Microsoft Word 97 or higher. See In re ElectronicFiling in the Florida Supreme Court, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC17-27 (May 9, 2017). Any person unable to submit a comment electronically must mail or hand-deliver the originally signed comment to the Florida Supreme Court, Office of the Clerk, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1927; no additional copies are required or will be accepted.

PER CURIAM.

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

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