Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of questions often asked by the public. If you have other questions, please contact us.
- Domestic Relations
- Marriage Licenses
- Jury Duty
What kinds of records are included in the Official Records Books?
Any record involving the sale or purchase, lease or lien of real property in Seminole County. The Official Records also include certain court orders (Orders of Dismissal and Final Judgments) issued in the county, satisfactions of those judgments, tax liens, military service discharges, marriage licenses and petitions of bankruptcy. You must provide a stamped self-addressed envelope if you require the recorded documents returned after processing.
What about birth certificates and death certificates?
Birth certificates and death certificates are not normally included in the Official Records Books. You can, however, obtain a copy at the County Health Department, 400 West Airport Boulevard, Sanford or by contacting the Bureau of Vital Statistics, 1217 Pearl Street, Jacksonville 32231, (904) 359-6900. Death certificates are available only if they have been recorded. All personal information has been redacted.
How can I find out if a lien has been filed against my property?
Start with your name and the year you bought your property and work forward. The Official Records Books are indexed by year, and by name (last year, 548,950 names were added to the index). If your property is listed on any document or in any action recorded, during the year, it will show up on the index for that year, along with the book and page number the specific document is assigned.
How much does it cost for a copy of an official record?
$1.00 per page.
What types of cases are heard in traffic court?
Hearing officers have the power to accept pleas and decide the guilt or innocence of any person, (adult or juvenile) charged with any civil traffic infraction who appears before them. Hearing officers have the power to adjudicate or withhold adjudication in the same manner as a county court judge.
County court judges hear cases involving property damage, or which result in the death or injury of a person.
What's the difference between a criminal traffic violation and a civil traffic infraction?
All speeding tickets are civil infractions. A civil traffic infraction is a non-criminal violation, not punishable by jail and which usually can be disposed of by payment of a fine or attendance of a defensive driving course. A court appearance is not required, (except in cases where the violation involves an accident with serious bodily injury to another, speeding over 30mph, or leaving a child under six years of age unattended in a vehicle). There is no right to a trial by jury or court-appointed counsel in traffic court.
Reckless driving, driving with a suspended license or driving under the influence are examples of criminal traffic violations. The penalties for these are generally much more severe.
What charges constitute my driving license being suspended or my eligibility delayed?
Any drug or alcohol charge and grand theft auto and grand theft firearm.
Where do I make payment?
Clerk of the Circuit Court, Traffic Violations Bureau, P.O. Box 850, Sanford, Florida 32772-0850; or by paying in person at the Criminal Justice Center or any of our two branch offices. Payment may also be made via our website at www.seminoleclerk.org; we accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
How much time do I have?
Traffic tickets must be paid within 30 days from the date of the ticket.
Can I pay by check?
Yes. Payment may be made in cash, check, money order, or cashier's check. Credit/debit card payments are accepted via our website; partial payments are not accepted. The check must contain the preprinted name and address of the person who received the ticket; we do not accept third party checks.
I live in another county. Can I pay my ticket there?
No. You must make payment in the county in which the citation was issued.
What happens if I miss the deadline?
Your driver's license will be suspended until you make payment; and you will be required to pay an additional civil penalty and service fee. Additional fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles also may be possible.
What other options do I have?
Civil traffic infractions may be satisfied by paying a fine, by entering a plea of not guilty and going to court, by electing to attend a driver improvement course, or by submitting an Affidavit of Compliance in cases involving safety equipment violations that you have corrected. Also, traffic tickets issued for failing to carry a driver's license, a registration certificate, or proof of insurance, may be dismissed for $10.00, if you furnish proof that you had the document at the time you were charged.
What if I want to go to court?
You must notify the clerk's office, in person or in writing, within the required 30-calendar-day time period. Include a copy of your ticket and your mailing address and phone number with the request. We will set the time and date of your appearance (generally in about 90 days) and notify you in writing. If, for some reason, you cannot attend your hearing, you may file an Affidavit of Defense. The affidavit is a notarized statement of your testimony that will be read in court in lieu of a personal appearance. Traffic Court is usually held at a hearing site nearest where the alleged infraction occurred.
Who will be present at the hearing?
The officer who issued the traffic ticket, any witnesses called by the officer, any witnesses you may wish to call, a deputy clerk and the hearing officer or judge.
What happens if I'm found guilty?
The judge or hearing officer may order you to pay the fine and court costs, not to exceed $500.00, except in those cases involving speeding in a school zone or construction zone, or involving a death. In addition to the fine, the judge or hearing officer may order you to attend a defensive driving course or perform community service, or impose other penalties. If you fail to comply with the court order in the time allotted by the court, your driver's license will be suspended (until you comply) and additional late fees will be imposed.
What do I do if my license is suspended?
In most cases, you can pay to have your license reinstated without having to go to court. First, you must take care of whatever infraction caused your license to be suspended in the first place; and, second, you must pay a $60.00 reinstatement fee. We are linked by computer to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Again, in most cases, we can reinstate your license immediately.
Can the clerk's office tell me about points?
No, deputy clerks cannot offer advice concerning the number of points assessed against your license or how points will affect your insurance. You must address these concerns to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and/or your insurance agent.
Where can I get a copy of my driving record?
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in Tallahassee. The cost is $2.10 for a three year history. Certified copies are $3.10 each regardless of year. Your request must be made in writing, and include payment (cashier check or money order) to the Driver's License Bureau of Records, P.O. Box 5775, Tallahassee, FL 32314. You should receive your copy approximately three weeks from receipt of request.
Defensive Driving School
Can I go to traffic school instead of paying my ticket?
No, not instead of paying the civil penalty on the ticket. When paying the civil penalty, you may elect to attend traffic school instead of receiving points on your license. Any person who does not hold a commercial driver.s license may choose traffic school, but with two important conditions. First, you must be charged with a civil traffic infraction; and second, you must not have attended traffic school within the past year or made no more than five elections within your lifetime.
What are the benefits?
There are two. One, no points will be assessed against your driver's license; and two, by attending a defensive driving course, the violation will be entered on your driver history record as an ìadjudication withheld.î
How much does it cost?
Costs vary, depending on the school you attend. You must pay the cost of the course.
How do I sign up?
Come to the Criminal Justice Center or one of the two branch offices within the first 30 days. You must enroll by signing an affidavit and paying the fine, attend and complete an approved driving course within 60 days of enrolling. You are required to submit a certificate of completion to the Clerk's office.
What happens if I sign up to attend a defensive driving course, but don't go?
You will be deemed to have admitted the infraction and shall be adjudicated guilty and, points stemming from the violation will be assessed on your driving record.
How many times may I attend a defensive driving course?
Once every 12 months, but no more than five times within your lifetime. (If you sign up to attend a defensive driving course but don't go, your enrollment still counts toward the one time per year election and the five elections within the lifetime limit.
What if I receive a ticket outside of Seminole County?
You must sign up for school and pay the fines and costs in the county in which your ticket was issued. However, you may attend a defensive driving course approved by the State of Florida in the location of your choice.
Who should I contact for more information?
The Traffic Division of the Seminole County Clerk's Office at (407) 665-4450. You will need to contact the driver improvement schools directly for information on hours and costs. You will find them listed in the yellow pages of the phone book or visit the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' website for a list of providers.
How can I find out if there is a warrant out on me or someone else?
Warrant information is non-public. If you believe there is a warrant, you should contact your local police department or the Seminole County Sheriff's Office Warrants Division at (407) 665-6680.
How do I find out what has happened to a case, the name of the judge, or what charges have been filed?
All criminal cases are a matter of public record; most are available to you through our office. You can ask to see the file on any case we have on hand, or pay to have a copy made (at $1.00 per page) as long as that case has not been sealed by the court or has not been designated a ìnon-publicî case. (For example, all juvenile cases are non-public). Each file will include the name of the judge, defendant and prosecutor, a list of charges filed, and the status of the case. We provide indexes to cases in both our county and circuit criminal departments; and a public access computer inquiry system. The system is located on the first floor of the Criminal Justice Center. We do not provide detailed information on criminal cases over the telephone.
How will I know when and where I go to court?
If you've been arrested, you'll be given the time, date and place of your court appearance when you make bail. If you've been summoned by our office, the information will be included in the notice. If you're still unsure, call our office at (407) 665-4450.
How can I reschedule my court hearing?
You should call the judge's judicial assistant.
How do I get a public defender appointed?
By filling out the application and paying a $50 fee to be determined if you are indigent. If so, the court will then appoint the public defender.
Where can I get a public defender application form?
The form is available at the Clerk's office at the Criminal Justice Center. There is a $50 application processing fee. Once the form is completed, you may return it to the Clerk's office along with the processing fee.
Why do I have to pay money for an application for the public defender?
It is Florida law.
When will I know who my public defender is?
At your next court date, the judge will review your application of indigency and appoint a public defender, if qualified. You will be directed to their office to schedule an interview with a public defender.
Can I come in at a later date to pay delinquent court fees/public defender application fees?
When are fines/court costs due?
Fines and court costs imposed are due at sentencing. Financial hardship cases are referred to the Collections Department requiring a mandatory down payment of a least 25% of the total amount assessed.
How much of a down payment should I expect to pay if I cannot pay in full?
You may contact our Criminal Division for an estimated amount of your fines or court costs; however this amount is subject to change at the discretion of the sentencing judge. It is advisable to be prepared to make the largest payment possible.
Where may I set up a payment plan?
After sentencing, you may proceed to the Collections Department at the Criminal Justice Center to make your down payment and set up your agreement to pay.
What forms of payment are acceptable?
On the date of sentencing, you may pay by cash, personal check bearing the defendant's preprinted name, money order, or cashier's check.
Can I pay online the same day I go to court?
No. The computer will be updated in the evening and available for payment the next day.
May I pay for someone else? If so, how?
Yes. You may make a payment in person with cash or money order at the Criminal Justice Center or at any one of our branch offices. Third party checks are not acceptable. You may also pay with a credit card on our website.
I just received a letter for some kind of fees it says I owe. What is this about?
It is court fees that the judge ordered at your disposition or it is for the public defender application fees.
What are the possible consequences for failing to pay my fine?
Depending on the case, sanctions for failure to pay may include, but at the discretion of the judge are not limited to: a suspension of your driving privilege; a warrant for your arrest resulting in possible incarceration for contempt of court; an income deduction order; or, a final judgment (lien).
May I make payments over the phone?
No. The Clerk's Office does not accept payments by phone.
How do I get my evidence back?
Contact the presiding judge.
How do I get my bond money back?
There are two basic types of bonds: surety bonds, issued by bail bondsmen, and cash bonds, put up by the defendants themselves or someone they know. Cash bonds are refundable - unless they've been forfeited during the case or applied to fines and court costs; surety bonds are not. We refund cash bonds by mail, generally within ten business days of the close of each case.
Why has money been taken out of my bond?
Per F.S. 28.24(19), our office retains a fee for approving a cash bond. We also, per F.S. 903.286, are required to withhold funds from a cash bond to pay any unpaid court fees or costs owed by the defendant.
What if I want to appeal a decision?
By law and by right, any defendant can appeal any decision of the judge or the jury within thirty days from the date the order is signed. County court appeals are heard in circuit court. Circuit court appeals are heard in the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach. The Appeals Department is located on the fourth floor of the civil courthouse.
What will it cost me to appeal?
Filing fees vary: $281.00 to file an appeal from county court to circuit court; $400.00 to file an appeal from circuit court to the Fifth District Court of appeals and the Supreme Court. You also will be charged the cost of preparing the appellate record.
What is an expungement?
It is the deletion of your record. After all documents in the expungement packet are filled out, the court can sign the expungement and this will delete your record.
How do I go about filing for an expungement?
You can go to any clerk's office throughout the state and get an FDLE packet. The packet explains who is eligible. In Seminole County the defendant can file the appropriate motions without an attorney.
What is the difference between having a record expunged and having a record sealed?
A record expungement means the record is deleted. A record sealed means the record is closed.
How much does it cost to have a record sealed or expunged?
The processing fee to expunge a criminal record is $42.00 which is charged when the Petition to Seal or Expunge is filed with the Clerk's Office. Additionally, there are copy charges of $1.00 per page, per party and $2.00 per certified copy as provided in Sections 28.24(25) and 943.0585, Florida Statutes.
How can I find out when I made my last payment?
Contact the Domestic Relations Department with your case number and name. We can also provide you with a current payment record, including the date of your last payment. The cost is $2.00 per year, per term.
Can I call for the information?
Domestic Relations cases are available to anyone at the civil courthouse. However, we provide information over the phone only to those parties specifically named in a given case. Please note that we cannot provide information on nonpublic cases.
Can I pay my ex-wife/ex-husband directly?
Yes, but only if the arrangement was included in the final judgment.
I cannot afford the filing fees. What can I do?
Filing fees are set by state law. The fee for a divorce is $408.00. If you cannot afford to pay that amount, you can complete an application for indigent status and ask to be declared insolvent. If you are declared insolvent, we will set you up on a payment plan.
What is a simplified divorce?
Simplified divorce is a simple, inexpensive means of ending a marriage for those couples who meet the eligibility requirements.
What are the requirements for a simplified divorce?
- Both parties must agree that the marriage cannot be saved;
- There can be no child of the marriage under the age of 18; nor any dependent children;
- The wife cannot be pregnant;
- At least one of the parties must have been a resident of the State of Florida for the past six months; and,
- Both parties must agree on how the property and debts are to be divided.
Where can we file for a simplified divorce?
You may file at the civil courthouse in our Domestic Relations Department.
What do we need to bring with us?
You and your spouse must come to the Clerk's Office together and jointly file the paperwork. You both need to bring:
- Identification that includes your picture (such as a driver's license or Florida identification card); or,
- A corroborating witness (over the age of 18) who has a valid Florida's driver's license or identification card. This person will be attesting to the residency of one or both parties.
Do we need an attorney?
An attorney is not required for a simplified divorce. However, if you or your spouse has any doubt regarding eligibility, you should consult with an attorney prior to filing.
What does it cost to file for a simplified divorce?
The filing fees for a simplified divorce are set by Florida Statute and are subject to change as a result of new laws. The current fee for filing a simplified divorce is $408.00; the cost of the forms is $1.50; signature fee is $3.50.
How long will it take for our divorce to become final?
There is a mandatory 20-day waiting period before a hearing can be held. A hearing will be scheduled at the earliest possible date after that period has expired. You and your spouse must both appear in court on the scheduled hearing date.
Upon granting the divorce, the judge will sign a Final Judgment.
What happens next?
The final judgment will automatically be recorded in the Official Records Books of the County. At the conclusion of the hearing, both parties will receive a certified copy of the final judgment.
Can we change our mind after we have filed for a simplified divorce?
If, after filing for simplified divorce and prior to a judgment being entered, you believe your marriage can be saved, you and your spouse are required to come to the Clerk's office and file a voluntary dismissal of the case.
What is an injunction?
It is a court order (sometimes called a ìrestraining orderî) that gives clear and specific directions to a party or parties prohibiting violence. Anyone violating the court order, once it is served, is subject to arrest.
Where can I obtain an injunction?
You may obtain the forms necessary to seek an injunction from the Clerk of the Circuit Court (Domestic Relations Department), 301 N. Park Avenue, Sanford (407) 665-4493. You must file the completed forms with the Clerk's Office (Domestic Relations Department).
If an incident or threat occurs after regular business hours or on weekends or holidays, you may obtain the necessary forms at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility, Booking Office, 211 Eslinger Way, Sanford, (407) 665-1200. A duty judge will be available to review your petition.
What do I have to do to file an injunction?
If you are the victim of domestic violence, contact the Sheriff's Office or your local police department immediately. Once you've filed the police report, come to the Clerk of the Court's Office (between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm) and the Domestic Relations Department will assist you in the preparation of your request for an injunction. If it's after hours or a weekend, the police or sheriff will contact a judge directly.
What are the costs?
There are no fees required for an injunction.
What can an injunction do for you?
The injunction provides such relief as the court deems proper, including:
- Awarding you temporary exclusive use of your home;
- Awarding you temporary custody of your children;
- Establishing temporary support payments for minor children; and,
- Ordering one or both parties into counseling.
What happens after the judge grants the temporary injunction?
A formal hearing is scheduled (usually within 15 days of the injunction being issued). The respondent must be served with a copy of the petition, Notice of Hearing and the Temporary Order. If the respondent is not served by the time of the hearing, the judge may extend the temporary order and again set it for hearing. You must attend the hearing or your petition will be dismissed. (In Seminole County, the judge may determine that a hearing should be held first, before an injunction is issued. In that case, a Notice of Hearing would be issued to both parties.)
Generally, injunctions are granted for one year. During the hearing, the judge will determine whether or not to extend the injunction or enter a permanent order. The judge's final order can establish custody, child support or exclusive use of the home.
Before the injunction expires, you may petition the court to modify the terms, to dismiss it or extend it (or file an order to show cause if the other party fails to comply). Forms necessary to file for modification are available in the Clerk's office.
Copies of all injunctions are placed on file with local law enforcement agencies.
- Seminole County Sheriff's Office - (407) 665-6650;
- John E. Polk Correctional Facility, Booking Office (after hours, weekends) - (407) 665-1200
- Community Legal Services - (407) 322-8983;
- Child Support Enforcement - (800) 622-5437;
- Harbor House (Orange County Domestic Violence) injunctions - (407) 836-2001;
- Seminole County Legal Aid Society - (407) 834-1660;
- State Attorney's Office - (407) 665-6101 or (407) 665-6222
- Florida Domestic Violence Hotline - (800) 500-1119;
- Lakeside Alternatives - (407) 875-3700;
- No Abuse - (407) 228-9503;
- Domestic Violence Counseling - Safe House Hotline - (407) 330-3933
- Florida Department of Children and Families (food stamps, AFDC/TANF) - (407) 330-6909;
- Sanford Christian Sharing Center - (407) 323-2513;
- Harbor House Shelter (Orange County Domestic Violence) - (407) 246-7007
- Lakeside Alternatives - (407) 875-3700
- Rescue Mission (Sanford) - (407) 321-8224
- Salvation Army - (407) 322-2642
- Urban League - (407) 841-7654
- Safe House of Seminole - (407) 330-3933
Landlord and Tenant Disputes
What rights do I have as a tenant?
Your rights as a tenant or as a landlord are spelled out in Florida Statutes. The following is a series of citations for your use and information:
What rights do I have for access to the premises?
What is my landlord's obligation to maintain the premises?
What are my obligations to maintain the premises?
What do I do if the landlord does not comply?
What happens if I don't comply?
What happens if I fail to meet any or all other lease obligations?
What happens if I don't make my rent payments?
Can my landlord throw me out of my home?
How long is my lease in force?
Who can terminate a tenancy?
What should I do if I am served with a summons for eviction?
You should follow the steps outlined in the summons. Please note that any funds deposited into the registry of the court must be paid by cash, money order, or cashier's check made payable to the Clerk of Court and Comptroller. The fee to deposit funds is 3% of the first $500.00 and 1.5% thereafter.
What else should I know?
- If you have a written rental agreement, read it thoroughly before signing;
- If there are any changes to the written rental agreement get it in writing;
- Keep receipts/records;
- Conduct a ìwalk throughî with the landlord before entering or vacating the premises;
- Take pictures of any questionable conditions;
- If you have a problem, it needs to be in writing and in proper form, see Florida Statutes 83.60.
Where can I get small claims forms?
What is a small claims case?
A small claims case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount, or the value of the property involved is $5,000.00 or less, excluding costs, interest and attorney fees.
How do I file a small claim?
You must make your claim in writing, on the ìStatement of Claimî form. You must state the dollar amount owed. You must name the defendant by proper name, telephone number, and complete address. You should explain exactly why you think you are owed the money or why you feel you are entitled to the property.
Do I need a lawyer?
No, it is not necessary to have a lawyer. Small claims court is considered a ìPeoples Courtî and a lawyer is not required. Clerk's office personnel will provide you with the necessary forms for filing a small claims case. Please note that the form to try and recover property, a replevin, is not available on our website.
Who can file?
Any person eighteen years old or older or any individual doing business as a company may file a small claims case. A parent or guardian may file on behalf of a minor child. Each person who is a party to the claim must sign the necessary paperwork. If you are filing a Replevin, that paperwork must be notarized or signed in the presence of a deputy clerk.
How much will it cost?
Between $55.00 and $385.00, based on the face value of your complaint. The Seminole County Sheriff charges a fee per defendant to serve a summons in Seminole County. Filing fees for small claims actions are determined by Florida Statutes and are subject to change by legislative action. Fees also vary in accordance with the dollar amount of your claim and the type of action.
- For claims less than $100.00 = $55.00
- For claims of $100.01 to $500.00 = $80.00
- For claims of $500.01 to $2,500.00 = $175.00
- For claims of $2,500.01 to $5,000.00 = $300.00
- If you are filing a claim for replevin, there is an additional $85 fee added to the above cost for filing.
- There is an additional $10 fee for each original summons issued.
Other fees are required for service on the parties you are suing and are dependent on the type of service you select. A current schedule of filing fees is available to you in any clerk's office for your information.
What information do I need to file a small claims case?
To file a small claims case, the action in dispute must have taken place in Seminole County, the defendant must reside in Seminole County, or the contract must have been entered into in Seminole County. It is important that you file your claim against the proper party. You will need to provide an address for each defendant to be served. If you have any supporting documentation, you need to provide copies for each defendant and one for the court file.
Are there other requirements?
Any time you sue someone other than an individual, there is additional information needed to complete the necessary forms.
For example, are you suing an individual doing business as a company, a partnership where there are several people doing business as a company, a corporation and are they incorporated, or an insurance company? It is important for you to research this information carefully.
What happens after I file my small claims case?
Each person or business you are suing must be served with a summons or notice to appear in court on the date and time scheduled when you filed your claim.
At the pre-trial conference, mediation is ordered as long as both parties to the dispute are present and unable to settle their dispute. A mediator acts to encourage and find a resolution. It is informal and non-adversarial. In mediation, decision-making authority rests with the parties.
If the dispute cannot be settled at the pre-trial conference (or in mediation), a trial date will be scheduled. You must appear at the trial with all witnesses and documentation of your claim.
At the trial, you will have an opportunity to explain your case to the judge, ask the person(s) you are suing questions concerning your claim, present your documentation as discussed at the pre-trial conference and call on your witnesses to help explain your case.
Why use mediation?
The judge will require mediation because mediation is economical. Both parties view settlement as fair. There is one court meeting. You do not need to subpoena witnesses or evidence and depend on their presence at trial. You do not have to conduct extensive trial preparation. Mediation preserves personal and business relationships. It allows debtors to arrange repayment plans; avoid a judgment, and preserve credit reputation. Mediation protects privacy and avoids the publicity of trial.
Can I have a jury?
Yes, a trial by jury may be requested by the person(s) filing the small claims case [plaintiff(s)] upon written demand at the time the case is filed. Someone being filed against [defendant(s)] may request a jury trial within five days after service of notice or at the pre-trial conference.
How do I set a hearing?
The pre-trial hearing is set automatically.
When do I come to court?
The initial pretrial conference is scheduled 35 to 50 days from the date of the filing of the action. The pre-trial hearings are usually scheduled on Tuesdays; trials throughout the week.
What happens at the pre-trial hearing? At the trial?
The pre-trial hearing is not a trial, but it is an important step in the process. The judge will review the case and decide whether or not it should go to trial. The judge also will encourage you to settle. During the trial, the judge will hear the evidence, take testimony, and issue a final judgment - either in the courtroom immediately following the completion of the trial, or in writing several days later.
What happens to my case if a settlement is reached (outside of court)?
If, at any time in the proceedings a settlement is reached between the parties, the plaintiff(s) [person(s) who filed suit] must notify the Clerk, in writing, of the settlement.
If I win, how do I collect?
If a final judgment is entered in your favor, it is up to you to collect on it. The judgment is good for 20 years. You have several options to try and collect on your judgment: You can record a certified copy of the final judgment in the Official Records of the county where the defendant owns property. You can file a Judgment Lien Certificate with the Department of State and obtain a Writ of Execution, directing the sheriff to seize and sell the defendant's property to settle the debt. You can also file a Motion for Garnishment, attaching the defendant's wages or bank account.
Can I file a lien against the defendant's property?
If you choose to place a judgment lien against the defendant's property, you should obtain a certified copy of your judgment and have it recorded in the Official Records of the county. Fees for recording are set by statute and are subject to change by legislative action. Contact the Clerk's Recording Department for current fees.
How do I get a judgment off my credit report?
Contact the plaintiff and settle the debt. (In some cases, my office will accept payment on behalf of the plaintiff when the plaintiff cannot be located). Once the debt is paid, you should request and receive a Satisfaction of Judgment. The forms are available in my office. You should record the satisfaction in the Official Records. Once recorded, the credit bureaus have access to the information.
County and Circuit Civil
How do I find out if I'm being sued?
You should receive a summons notifying you of any legal action against you. If you are still unsure, contact the county or circuit civil departments. Our case files are computerized; we can cross-check your name against the files in just a few seconds. There is no charge.
Is there a charge for filing an answer?
No, however, there is a charge to file a counter claim, cross claim, or third party complaint if the claim amount exceeds $2500. There will then be a filing fee of $295.00 plus indexing and service fees, if applicable.
What are the filing fees?
Again, the fees are based on the face value of the complaint, and range from $55.00 to $385.00 for a small claim or a county court case and $300.00 in circuit court. There is also a $10 fee for each original summons issued.
There may be additional filing and service fees due depending on the type of case, amount of parties and services requested. There is a $10.00 service fee due when any type of summons is issued.
Will the court appoint an attorney to represent me?
What happens if I don't file an answer?
The plaintiff can move for default and summary judgment, or other relief requested.
How can I get a list of foreclosure properties that are set for sale?
Cases that have been set for sale can be found on our website at www.seminoleclerk.org, under "Online Searches".
How can I find out if a specific house is in foreclosure?
In order to tell if a case has been filed to foreclose on a house, we will need the case number or the exact names of the owners. We cannot tell if a case has been filed by the address.
How do I bid on property being sold by foreclosure?
Unless ordered by the court, foreclosure sales are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am at the courthouse in room S201. Our address is 301 North Park Avenue, Sanford, FL 32771.
You must deposit at least 5% of the bid amount, in cash or cashier's check ONLY, at the time you are the successful bidder. You must also check the judgment; some require the full amount to be deposited at the time of the sale. In most cases, you will have until 2:00pm., that same day, to bring back the balance of the bid, again in cash or cashier's check. If you do not get back before 2:00pm, your deposit will be forfeited.
The cashier's check should be made out to Clerk of the Circuit Court.
When the sale is started, the clerk will ask if there are any "third party bidders". Be sure and let her know you are intending to bid on that property. Be sure and bid as you would like the title issued. We cannot change it after the sales are completed.
How much does it cost to get married?
The cost of a marriage license is $86.00 (cash or credit card). The cost of a marriage license is reduced to $61.00 when you present a certificate of completion by a course provider of the four hour prescribed premarital class. After the effective date on your marriage license, you have the option to have your marriage ceremony performed at the civil courthouse or at one of our branch offices for a fee of $30.00.
How do I apply for a marriage license?
To apply for a marriage license, you must be 18 years old or older; you and your fiancé must apply together in person, and you must both present either a valid driver's license or a passport. You must pay in cash or by credit card.
Who can apply?
- Any male or female age 18 or over;
- A minor whose parents are deceased and no guardian is appointed;
- Minors who, under oath, swear that they are parents or expectant parents of a child. In addition, the pregnancy must be verified by a written statement by a licensed physician. When the fact of pregnancy is verified by the written statement of a licensed physician, a county court judge may, in his or her discretion, issue a license to marry;
- A previously married minor; and,
- A person age 16 or 17 with parental or guardian consent
Is consent of both parents required?
Yes, unless the parents are divorced and the custody and control of the minor is assigned to one parent. Written consent of an incompetent parent is not required (Attorney General Opinion 49-122). All written consent must be notarized or signed before a deputy clerk.
Do I have to be a Florida resident or an American citizen to obtain a marriage license?
No. Residency and citizenship are not required.
Are blood tests and physical exams required?
No. The law requiring these tests was abolished October 1, 1986.
Must I apply for a marriage license in the county in which I live?
No, a marriage license may be applied for and solemnized in any Florida county. However, the marriage license must be recorded in the county where it was obtained.
Where can I apply for a marriage license in Seminole County?
A marriage license may be obtained Monday through Friday in the civil courthouse or at the Altamonte Springs or Casselberry branch offices. We do not take appointments.
How long is my license valid?
Sixty days from the date the license is issued.
Who may perform marriage ceremonies?
- All regularly ordained ministers or other ordained clergy;
- Elders in communion with some church;
- All judicial officers (judges) of the State of Florida;
- Clerks of Circuit Court and their deputies of the State of Florida;
- Notaries Public of the State of Florida; and,
- The law provides that marriages may be performed among "Quakers" or "Friends", in a manner and form used or practiced in their societies.
Who is a regularly ordained minister?
He/she is a minister who has been recognized in the manner required by the regulations of the respective denomination to perform marriage ceremonies.
May a marriage be solemnized without a license?
No. Section 741.08 F.S. states that the party solemnizing the marriage shall require a properly issued license before performing the ceremony.
When and who should return the license to the clerk?
A marriage cannot be officially recorded until the license is returned to the clerk. It should be returned within 10 days after the wedding. The party who performed the marriage or the couple is responsible for returning the completed license.
Can I be married in the clerk's office?
Yes, the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court performs wedding ceremonies between 8:00am and 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. Branch offices perform wedding ceremonies between 8:15am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. The fee is $30.00 (payments must be made in cash or by credit card). We do not take appointments.
Can I pay for my marriage license with a personal check?
Checks are not accepted for payment of a marriage license fee. Cash or credit card only.
How do I get a copy?
Once you apply, we will issue you an original marriage license immediately. The license must be completed the day of your wedding. When your marriage license is returned, it is recorded automatically in the Official Records of the County. One certified copy is supplied by the Clerk's Office free of charge, however, you can obtain additional certified copies from the Land Records Department; the cost is $3.00.
Where to write for a copy of your marriage license:
Department of HRS Division of Vital Statistics P.O. Box 210 Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042 (904) 359-6955
If you were issued your marriage license in Seminole County, contact:
Land Records Clerk of the Circuit Court P.O. Box 8099 Sanford, FL 32772-8099 (407) 665-4409
How can I get an annulment?
You should contact an attorney.
Why does a marriage license cost so much?
The fee you pay helps fund a number of worthwhile programs around the state: Twenty-five dollars of the $86.00 goes to pay for domestic violence centers; $4.00 to the Bureau of Vital Statistics; $25.00 to the Family Court Trust Fund. The balance is retained by the Clerk, statutorily, to defray offices' expenses.
Changing information on documents If your marriage means a change in name and/or address, remember to make the following important notifications:
- Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Division of Drivers License;
- Your nearest Social Security office;
- Your voter's registration office;
- Military Reserve commanding officer; and,
- Beneficiaries: Members of your family are probably named as beneficiaries or joint owners on many of these documents and you may wish to list your spouse as the new beneficiary or joint owner.
Where can I get a birth certificate?
Most states provide certified copies of birth certificates through their Bureau of Vital Statistics. In Florida, the Bureau can be contacted by calling (904) 359-6900, or writing:
State of Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services Vital Statistics Post Office Box 210 Jacksonville, Florida 32231
If you were born in Florida, you can now obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate at the Seminole County Health Department, 400 West Airport Boulevard, Sanford, Florida 32773.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process through which the assets of a deceased person are properly distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries. The Court oversees the estate to make sure debts are paid and proper distribution is made.
What is a will? When and where should it be filed?
A will is a document executed by a person to dispose of his or her property after his or her death. It generally names a personal representative to administer the estate. After the death of the person, the custodian of the will must deposit the will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, within ten (10) days after receiving information that the person is deceased. The custodian should supply the person's date of death or the person's social security number to the Clerk upon deposit of the will, if this information is available.
Do you need an attorney to deposit a will?
No, an attorney is not necessary to deposit the will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. However, you may want to consult with an attorney before filing so that he or she may determine whether Probate proceedings will be necessary. The filing fee is $7.00.
Are there different types of proceedings depending on the size of the estate?
There are four basic types of proceedings for administering the decedent's estate:
This type of proceeding is used when it is necessary to appoint a personal representative to act on behalf of the estate because there are considerable assets or other special circumstances. The capacity in which the representative will act is determined by the court at the time of the appointment and letters of administration will be issued to the representative so that he/she may complete the administration of the estate.
Summary Administration may be filed when the value of the entire estate does not exceed $75,000 or the decedent has been deceased over two years.
Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration
The disposition is filed to request release of assets of the deceased up to $6,000.00 or reasonable funeral expenses to the person who paid the final expenses; such as funeral bills or medical bills for the last 60 days. This procedure may be accomplished with the filing of a petition. The form required to file the disposition is available from the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the Probate Division. This cannot include real property.
What happens if a person dies and has left no will?
The property will be distributed in accordance with Florida law.
What happens if there is a will filed but no personal representative has been named?
It will be necessary for an attorney to petition the Court to appoint a personal representative to administer the estate if there are assets in the decedent's name alone.
How are probate proceedings initiated?
Probate proceedings are initiated with the filing of a petition by an interested person asking to be appointed personal representative or to distribute property depending on size and complexity of property. The petition is normally prepared by an attorney. The personal representative will be responsible for the estate until all bills are paid and the balance of the estate is distributed to the rightful beneficiaries and they are discharged by the court.
What type of paperwork must accompany the form for filing a disposition of personal property without administration?
The following items must be provided:
- If the decedent has a will, it must be filed with the clerk for safekeeping within ten days of the notice of death;
- An itemized, paid funeral bill;
- Paid receipts for any medical expenses incurred sixty days prior to death;
- Death certificate without cause of death;
- A statement regarding the type of asset to be released;
- Identification of the person filing; and,
- The filing fee.
What happens after this information is filed with the clerk?
The court will enter an order either allowing or disallowing the release of assets. A certified copy of the Order is then mailed to the petitioner.
My spouse has died. Do I have to go through probate just to gain access to the checking account?
Yes, if the account is held solely in the name of an individual who has died. Any asset, including a checking account that is frozen at the time of death, cannot be made available to you without some sort of court order.
What if the account is in both our names?
No. In that case, the checking account (and all assets owned in both your names) passes to you by rights of survivorship. However, you should record a certified copy of the death certificate in the Official Records of the county which does not include the ìcause of death sectionî.
Do I get the death certificate from you?
No. Death certificates are obtained from the Health Department of the county where the decedent died.
When will the court appoint a guardian?
Generally, if a child is living apart from his natural parents, or if he has received a financial settlement or inheritance of $15,000 or more. The court will appoint a guardian for an adult if he is no longer able to care for himself or his property.
Can I represent myself?
Yes, if you are the sole heir to an estate. But you should know the law. You must be represented by counsel in a guardianship.
What is a Petition for Delinquency?
It is a document filed by the State Attorney charging a criminal offense.
What is a Petition for Dependency?
It is a document filed by a party alleging a child(ren) has been abused, neglected or abandoned.
What is a CINS Petition and what does CINS mean?
It is a document filed by a party alleging that a child is in need of services (CINS).
How do I file a Petition for Dependency and a CINS Petition?
These petitions are filed at our Juvenile Department at 190 Bush Boulevard in Sanford.
What is the difference between a dependent child and a delinquent child?
A dependent child has been abused, neglected or abandoned. A delinquent child is charged with committing a crime.
How do I go about obtaining my juvenile record?
You may visit our Juvenile Department and must show identification.
When I turn 18, does my juvenile record go away?
No, but you can apply to have it expunged.
What is the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund?
It is a fund to assist victims in criminal cases.
Who can see or access my juvenile record?
The child, parents, defense attorney, and government agencies.
How much does a copy of my juvenile record cost?
The cost for copies is $1.00 per page, plus $2.00 to certify.
I have been called for jury duty; what if I want to be excused?
Please review the summons that was sent to you. Check the appropriate box which most relates to your situation and send it to our office ten days prior to your date of service. You may also submit your excusal request via our website.
How long will I have to serve?
You will be required to serve for one day or one trial, unless otherwise directed by the court. Jury selection occurs on the first business day of the week. If you are not selected for a trial, you will have completed your jury service, unless otherwise directed by the court.
How long should I plan to be at the courthouse for jury duty?
Jury selection will last until all judges have selected their panels for the week. This could be after 5:00pm.
What should I bring with me?
Please bring a picture ID and your jury summons. You may also want to bring books, games, or your laptop computer to keep you occupied.
How much does a record search cost?
The cost to search our records is $2.00 per year. The cost for copies is $1.00 per page.
What can I do at your branch offices?
Our branch offices accept payment for traffic tickets; accept documents for recording in the Official Records along with the proper recording fee; accept most civil actions, suits, or proceedings in the circuit and county courts along with the proper filing fee; accept applications for a marriage license along with the proper fee; and, our east branch office has a complete set of Official Records Books dating back to 1974 and, you may conduct your own title search.
Where are your branch offices located?
The Altamonte Springs branch is located in the Oak Grove Shoppes, 995 North State Road 434, Suite 403, just north of Jamestown Boulevard. The Casselberry branch is located in the Wilshire Plaza, 376 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 376, just off State Road 436 between Red Bug Road and U.S. Highway 17-92.
Both offices are open from 8:15am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.
Can I sign up for Defensive Driving School at the branches?
Yes. For information regarding the school elections, please refer to the traffic section on page one.
I received a ticket today. Why can't I pay for it today?
Statutorily, the Law Enforcement Agency that issued your ticket has five days to deliver the original ticket to the Traffic Violations Bureau and, therefore, there isn't a matching ticket in the cashiering system for the payment to be credited to. However, you may pay your ticket today by presenting the yellow copy of the ticket along with your payment at the Criminal Justice Center or you may mail your payment.
Will court be held here?
No. Court is held on certain days at the Criminal Justice Center and at various locations in Seminole County by Traffic Hearing Officers. Hearing Officers have the power to accept pleas from defendants, hear and rule upon motions, decide whether a defendant has committed an infraction, and adjudicate or withhold adjudication in the same manner as a county court judge.
County Judges may hold any person in contempt of court; hear a case involving an accident resulting in injury or death; or hear a criminal traffic offense.
Can I make my support payments at the branch? Can I record a document?
Yes. You can make any payment at a branch that you would normally make at the courthouse. You can submit a document for recording, and pay the fee, at the branch. The original will be recorded in Sanford the following day, and returned to you by mail.
Can I get the name of the owner of a piece of property from the records in the branch offices?
You should have the name. If you have only an address, we will refer you to the property appraiser's office. The branches contain a complete set of land records dating to 1974, with complete indexes back to 1968. These records are updated daily. To view records prior to 1974, you should come to the courthouse.
Where is the nearest driver license office?
The office of the Tax Collector now handles select driver license services at their Casselberry Branch located at 104 Wilshire Blvd, and at their Lake Mary Branch located at 845 Primera Blvd. Appointments are optional. Additional services and locations can be found at FLHSMV's OASIS system..
Can I get my occupational license, automobile tag or fishing license here?
No, these functions are handled by the Tax Collector's Office. Their phone number is 407-665-1000, and they have 5 office locations:
- First floor of the County Services Building at 1101 East First Street in Sanford
- 104 Wilshire Blvd in Casselberry
- Oak Grove Shoppes diagonally across from the Clerk's branch office in Altamonte Springs
- 1490 Swanson Dr in Oviedo
- 845 Primera Blvd in Lake Mary