Service of Process in Florida

Service in Florida

A lawsuit has been filed against you in Florida. What is the next step? In all lawsuits, the Defendant(s) must be notified of the pending lawsuit in order to file an Answer or other responsive pleading.

Florida Statutes Chapter 48 states, in great detail, the process for serving Defendants, including the process, who may serve, who may be served, substituted service and many others. Service of Process is very important because a lawsuit can be fundamentally attacked if service is improper.

The Plaintiff has the option of contacting the local Sheriff to serve the Complaint or the Plaintiff can contact a private process server. Personal service is defined as service on the individual Defendant. The Sheriff or process server must submit a Return of Service affidavit stating the name and physical characteristics of the individual served. Substituted service of process is when the named Defendant is not able to be served (i.e. away from the house, at work) but another individual who is 15 years of age or older and lives at the premises can be served in lieu of the Defendant.

If you are unable to personally serve the Defendant or by substituted service, you must constructively serve the Defendant by publishing the Notice of Action/Notice of Publication in a local newspaper of common circulation for a specified period of weeks. This process allows the general population at large to be on notice of a pending lawsuit.

If you are trying to serve a corporation in Florida, it is very important to look on Sunbiz.org. Sunbiz.org is the State of Florida’s Division of Corporation’s official website.

The clock does not begin to run for the Defendant until he/she is served. Therefore, although a complaint happens to be filed, it is useless unless served.

Have you been served with a Florida lawsuit?  Are you looking to serve a lawsuit in Florida  The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC, represents both Plaintiffs and Defendants in civil actions throughout the State of Florida.  Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 or stop by our Lantana office @ 814 W. Lantana Rd. #1, Lantana, Florida 33462.

Have you been served with Foreclosure papers? Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 for a free 20-minute consultation.
The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC is proud to announce the expansion of our office and new street signage in an effort to better serve our clients.
Need to Evict a Tenant? Checkout our Landlord Eviction Fee Schedule http://shipplawoffice.com/blog/?p=504
Is your Tenant not paying rent? #shipplaw is your one stop shop for all of your Landlord needs. (561) 699-0399. shipplawoffice.com
#Shipplaw handles Florida landlord-tenant disputes, unlawful detainers, ejectments, replevins, collections matters, foreclosure defense, & contractual disputes

Circuit Civil vs. County Civil (Florida)

Circuit v. Civil

The courthouse maze can be a daunting place for individuals who are not familiar with the legal process.  In Florida, the court systems are divided into Civil and Criminal.  The Civil court system is further divided into County Civil and Circuit Civil and each have there own division which handle area-specific cases.

County Civil Court has jurisdiction over claims up to and including $15,000. A County Civil case is any civil matter that falls within the jurisdiction of County Court, which are enumerated in Chapter 34, Florida Statutes.  Further, County Civil has exclusive jurisdiction over small claims and eviction cases.  Evictions are disputes between landlord and tenants.  Small claims are disputes involving money damages where the amount at issue does not exceed $5,000 excluding costs, interest and attorneys’ fees.

Circuit Civil cases are non-criminal cases in which individuals or businesses sue for damages exceeding $15,000.  Examples of Circuit Civil lawsuits include bond validations, car bonds, personal property bonds, declaratory judgments, ejectment, eminent domain, injunctions, petitions, quiet title, replevin, and tax-related cases such as contest of tax assessments, enforcement of a tax warrant and IRS liens.

It is important to know your rights and to consult an attorney as soon as possible if you have a civil issue in Florida.  Call the Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC today @ (561) 699-0399 or stop by our office @ 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462 for a free consultation.

Have you been served with Foreclosure papers? Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 for a free 20-minute consultation.
The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC is proud to announce the expansion of our office and new street signage in an effort to better serve our clients.
Need to Evict a Tenant? Checkout our Landlord Eviction Fee Schedule http://shipplawoffice.com/blog/?p=504
Is your Tenant not paying rent? #shipplaw is your one stop shop for all of your Landlord needs. (561) 699-0399. shipplawoffice.com
#Shipplaw handles Florida landlord-tenant disputes, unlawful detainers, ejectments, replevins, collections matters, foreclosure defense, & contractual disputes

What is the process to Vacate a Default Judgment in Florida

Did you receive a default judgment for failing to respond to a complaint in Florida?  Although you might think this would mean there is no legal recourse, you may be wrong.  A defendant that received a default judgment for his/her failure to respond to the complaint may file a Motion to Vacate a Default Judgment if he or she meets the following three-pronged test: (1) whether the defendant has demonstrated excusable neglect in failing to respond; (2) whether the defendant has demonstrated a meritorious defense; and (3) whether the defendant, subsequent to learning of the default, had demonstrated due diligence in seeking relief.

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.540 states in detail how to obtain relief from a Judgment. In Florida, excusable neglect is defined as a reason that would validly explain why you did not respond to the initial complaint.

A meritorious defense is whether the Defendant would have a winning argument in his or her Affirmative Defenses to the Complaint.  In Florida, the court must typically hear a case on its merits and would normally reverse a default if a case can be heard on its merits after demonstrating the above three-pronged test.

Lastly,  due diligence is the process of changing your situation as soon as you learn about the default.  In essence, doing all that you can to reverse the default.  An example of due diligence is when the Defendant immediately contacted an attorney and seeks representation in the legal matter.  Due diligence can also means taking it upon himself or herself to call opposing counsel to work out the matter.

If the Plaintiff fails to agree to vacate the default, a hearing is usually held for all sides to argue their position.  Although it is not a guaranteed victory, a Motion to Vacate can help in dire situations and worth a shot! It is important to know your rights and to consult an attorney as soon as possible if you receive a default judgment in your Florida lawsuit. Call the Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC today @ (561) 699-0399 or stop by our office @ 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462 for a free consultation.

Have you been served with Foreclosure papers? Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 for a free 20-minute consultation.
The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC is proud to announce the expansion of our office and new street signage in an effort to better serve our clients.
Need to Evict a Tenant? Checkout our Landlord Eviction Fee Schedule http://shipplawoffice.com/blog/?p=504
Is your Tenant not paying rent? #shipplaw is your one stop shop for all of your Landlord needs. (561) 699-0399. shipplawoffice.com
#Shipplaw handles Florida landlord-tenant disputes, unlawful detainers, ejectments, replevins, collections matters, foreclosure defense, & contractual disputes

Garnishment Relief in Florida

Did you receive a Writ of Garnishment for a judgment on unpaid credit card bills? You might have some options before your wages are garnished.

If you received a Writ of Garnishment, that means you have an unpaid debt and that you received a judgment in a judicial action trying to collect that debt. It is important to Answer any lawsuit that you receive so that a default is not entered against you.

A Writ of Garnishment can sometimes be dissolved by working on a Settlement Agreement with opposing counsel that would stipulate monthly payments to be made on the judgment. In Florida, a debtor may be able to file a Claim of Exemption and Request for a Hearing. A Claim of Exemption states that you, as the debtor, are exempt from any garnishment due to several reasons: 1) you are the head of household, support a dependent and earn less than $750/week; 2) you are the head of household, support a dependent and earn more than $750/week; 3) social security; 4) welfare; 5) veteran’s benefits; 6) disability income benefits; 7) unemployment compensation; or 8) pension.

A hearing will be held once the Claim of Exemption is filed and a Judge would most likely find that those earnings listed above are exempt from garnishment. It is important to know your rights and to consult an attorney as soon as possible if you receive a Writ of Garnishment. Call the Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC today @ (561) 699-0399 or stop by our office @ 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462 for a free consultation.

Unlawful Detainer vs. Eviction in Florida

Unlawful Detainer vs. Eviction in Florida? Do you have an invited guest staying in your home, but refusing to leave? What are your options and would this be considered an unlawful detainer action or eviction to get them out of your Florida property?

Florida Statute Chapter 82 details what an unlawful detainer action is and the remedies of an unlawful detainer. More specifically, an unlawful detainer action is used when an invited guest, in essence this means that no landlord/tenant relationship exists, refuses to leave the property. To prove an unlawful detainer, you must show 1) the person was invited into your home, 2) the person was not a tenant (did not pay any rent) 3) you asked them to leave, and 4) they refused.

On the other hand, an eviction is utilized when a tenant refuses to leave the property. Since there is a landlord/tenant relationship, an eviction would be the property method to remove the individual from the property. A landlord/tenant relationship exists when there is a lease or payment of rent.

The procedures are almost identical when initiating an eviction or an unlawful detainer. Further, both proceedings are expedited in the Florida judicial system.  If you’re dealing with this type of headache, let the Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC assist.  Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 or stop by our Lantana office @ 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462.

Have you been served with Foreclosure papers? Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 for a free 20-minute consultation.
The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC is proud to announce the expansion of our office and new street signage in an effort to better serve our clients.
Need to Evict a Tenant? Checkout our Landlord Eviction Fee Schedule http://shipplawoffice.com/blog/?p=504
Is your Tenant not paying rent? #shipplaw is your one stop shop for all of your Landlord needs. (561) 699-0399. shipplawoffice.com
#Shipplaw handles Florida landlord-tenant disputes, unlawful detainers, ejectments, replevins, collections matters, foreclosure defense, & contractual disputes

 
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