Civil Court Records

The Clerk of the Circuit Court is an Elected Constitutional Officer
& Independent Custodian of the Court Record


 

Circuit Civil Court Records:

Florida Rules of Civil Procedure

This Clerk of the Circuit Court department maintains records and performs case processing for all cases where damages sought exceed $15,000 and all domestic relations (i.e. divorce, child support, domestic violence), mortgage foreclosures, lien foreclosures and negligence actions.

The Circuit Court for Civil is divided into two divisions: Civil and Family (See the Probate tab for more Circuit Civil information).

The Family Division of the Circuit Court hears family actions, which include dissolution of marriage, name change, paternity, domestic violence and adoption. The Unified Family Court also handles certain adoption cases and Domestic Violence cases when a Juvenile Dependency action is pending. 

The Florida Courts provide information and forms for Family Law case types.
They maintain a general assistance page here.

The Civil Division of Circuit Court hears civil action which include mortgage foreclosure, contracts, medical malpractice, negligence and wrongful acts, dealing with money matters in excess of $15,000. Circuit Civil actions seek private remedies of enforcement of personal rights based on contracts and agreements dealing with money amounts of $15,000 or more.

County Civil Court Records 

This court area handles all cases where damages sought are over $5,000 but less than $15,000 excluding costs, interest and attorney fees; this includes Landlord/Tenant actions. Small Claims is a separate division of the County Court and has jurisdiction where damages do not exceed $5,000 exclusive of costs, interest or attorney fees. Small Claims Court provides a forum for people to settle disputes in a speedy, inexpensive manner.

The County Court also hears Simplified Dissolution of Marriage cases, even though they are filed as a Circuit family action.

Contact us at:

Clearwater Courthouse
315 Court St., Room 170
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 464-7000

Important notice concerning service of summonses, subpoenas or Writs of Garnishments.

Effective July 1, 2010, the Pinellas County Sheriff will no longer serve summonses, subpoenas or Writs of Garnishments for non-governmental entities. It will be the responsibility of the filing party to obtain a private process server to have the necessary paperwork served. A list of process servers can be obtained from a telephone directory or through the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

You must contact the process server for service or cost information.

If the summons, subpoena or Writ of Garnishment must be returned by mail, please provide the Clerk's office with a pre-addressed stamped envelope to mail all issued documents and/or copies for service. If a sufficient envelope and postage is not provided, your summons will not be returned.

Civil Bonds - Civil Bond Chart

Various types of bonds are authorized to be deposited with the Clerk of the Court in Civil actions under several Florida Statutes, the Florida Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedures, and per Court Order. Typically these bonds can be a cash deposit, or a surety bond issued by an surety company licensed to do business in the State of Florida.

The following chart lists many of the bonds typically filed in civil actions, along with the Clerk’s authorization to accept the bond, how the amount of the bond is determined, fees that may be due upon filing the bond, and other pertinent information. Links to the authorizing statutes or rules are included in the chart. 

The Clerk does not maintain a list of surety companies which issue surety bonds and cannot advise which bond would apply under any particular circumstances or situation. You may wish to consult with an attorney for advice and further information.

Civil Bond Chart

Civil Court Records Glossary

ANNULMENT - voiding something that once existed, such as the bonds of matrimony. An annulled marriage is one that is voided back to the beginning, as if it never took place. Divorce decree operates only to terminate the marriage from that point forward and does not affect the former validity of the marriage. Annulment actions can be filed in Civil but we have no paperwork or forms.

APPEAL court - a higher court reviewing a lower court’s decision. When one of the parties is dissatisfied with a lower court’s ruling, they have 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal. Either party can do this.

ARREARS - an amount unpaid but due to be paid.

ASSESSMENT - the rate at which support is to be paid.

CALENDAR - a list of pending cases for a specific type of court hearing on a specific date.

CERTIFICATION - A guarantee and/or attestment by the Clerk's Process Section that copies are true copies of court file documents.

DATING VIOLENCE – violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the consideration of the following factors: A dating relationship must have existed within the past 6 months; The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.

DEFAULT - means failure to file or serve any paper in the action within the prescribed period of time allowed by law.

DELAYED BIRTH CERTIFICATE - an action that may be filed for any state resident or person born in this state who does not have a birth certificate, to received a court-issued delayed birth certificate (No record of birth with the Office of Vital Statistics.)

DISMISSAL - removes a case out of the court’s jurisdiction. All action in a case is stopped. A dismissal with prejudice stops any further action from taking place. A dismissal without prejudice does not stop further action on the same cause.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - Any assault, aggravated assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking a ggravated, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit.

“Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family, or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

DOR - the Department of Revenue; the child support enforcement agency for the State of Florida.

FACC - the Florida Association of Court Clerks.

FINAL PROCESS/FINAL REPORTING - an area of the Legal Section which is responsible for preparing and processing cases after judgment.

FORECLOSURE - a legal proceeding that stops or ends a right to property. It is an action to force payment or a mortgage or other debt secured by a lien. This is usually started because a debt is not being repaid, and leads to the selling of the property to satisfy the debt.

FOREIGN JUDGMENT - any judgment, decree, or order of a court of any other state or the United States that is entitled to full faith and credit in this state.

FREQUENCY - indicates how often an assessment is assessed in support.

GENERAL MAGISTRATE - an attorney appointed by a judge to take testimony and recommend decisions on certain matters connected with a divorce. These recommendations are then reviewed by the judge and are generally approved unless contrary to the law or the facts of the case. The primary purposes of having general magistrates hear family law matters are to reduce the costs of litigation and to speed up cases. The General Master may hear uncontested dissolution of marriage proceedings and other matters that are properly referred to them, (there must be an order of referral signed by a judge before a General Master can hear an issue) and then files a report that includes findings of fact and conclusions of law, along with recommendations. The General Master cannot sign orders. Either party has 10 days to object to or find exception with the findings the General Master’s Report and Recommendations. The objection must be based on a mistake in law.

HEARING OFFICER - a member of the Florida Bar who is appointed by judges of the circuit court and presides over the establishment, enforcement, or modification of child support. (Only hear cases with Department of Revenue as petitioner.) A support enforcement hearing officer does not have the authority to hear contested paternity cases. The hearing officer evaluates the evidence and makes a recommended order to the court. The Report and Recommendations of the Hearing Officer are sent to the judge immediately and the judge signs the orders as soon as possible. If either party objects to the order, an objection must be filed along with the appropriate motion to vacate the motion. The objection must be based on a mistake of law.

INCOME DEDUCTION ORDER - a court order that instructs the respondent’s (also referred to as "payor's" or "obligor's") employer to deduct or withhold child support payments from the respondent's wages earned and forward it to the Florida State Disbursement Unit.

  • The Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services offers limited attorney consultations to pro se or self-represented litigants (i.e. those people who do not plan to have an attorney represent them in court).

INTERSTATE - indicates that another state in involved in the action.

IV-D in support indicates that services are provided by the federal child support program under Title IV, part D of the Social Security Act. These cases are always handled by DOR.

LIS PENDENS (NOTICE OF) - may be required in a foreclosure action to be placed in the public record to warn persons (such as prospective purchasers or others having an interest in the property under suit) that the title to the property is in litigation and may be bound by an adverse judgment. The Lis Pendens must be recorded and the person filing must pay the recording fee of $5.00 for the 1st page and $4.00 for each additional page, plus $1.00 for each name over 4 names listed in the body or style of the document.

MODIFICATION - a change made by the court in an order or final judgment. Filing an appropriate supplemental petition is required, as well as noticing the parties, setting a hearing, and obtaining an order of modification from the court. A fee of $50.00 is required to file a modification in existing Pinellas County Dissolution cases only.

NAME CHANGE - the process used when an individual or a family wants to ask the court to change their name. If a name change is to be done because of dissolution of marriage or adoption, the name change can be done as part of that case if a final judgment has not been entered. If one parent asks for a name change of a minor child(ren), process must be served on the other parent, and proof of service on the other parent must be filed with the court.

  • The Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services offers limited attorney consultations to pro se or self-represented litigants (i.e. those people who do not plan to have an attorney represent them in court).

NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS – placed in public record to warn persons that the title to the property is in litigation and they will be bound by the possible adverse judgment. The Lis Pendens must be recorded and the person filing must pay the recording fee of $5.00 for the 1st page and $4.00 for each additional page, plus $1.00 for each name over 4 names listed in the body or style of the document.

OBLIGATION - a commitment to pay a particular amount of money

OBLIGEE - (see also "Petitioner") the person receiving money in a support case; the one who initiated the case in a civil action, i.e. the plaintiff.

OBLIGOR - (see also "Respondent") the person paying the support in a support case; the defendant in a civil action.

PATERNITY - an action initiated to determine the (father) of a child born out of wedlock and to provide for the support of that child once paternity is proved.

PAYEE - indicates who received the payment.

PETITIONER - the person receiving money in a support case; the one who initiated the case in a civil action, i.e. the plaintiff.

PLAINTIFF - the person who initially brings the suit or civil action, and who seeks remedy in a court of justice for an injury to or a withholding of rights.

PLEADINGS - the documents contained in the court file. These are usually statements, in logical and legal form, of the facts that constitute the plaintiff’s cause of action and defendant’s ground of defense. The Clerk dockets pleadings and a list of pleadings in a court file is contained on the D screen, in the Civil Mainframe.

PRAECIPE - a request for the clerk to take some action, such as issue a subpoena, etc.

PRO BONO - indicates when attorneys take on cases without compensation to advance a social cause.

PRO SE - a person represents oneself without the aid of legal counsel, for oneself, or on one’s own behalf.

  • The Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services offers limited attorney consultations to pro se or self-represented litigants (i.e. those people who do not plan to have an attorney represent them in court).

REPEAT VIOLENCE - Two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one which must have been within 6 months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.

“Violence” means any assault, battery, or sexual battery or stalking by a person against any other person."

REPLEVIN - an action to recover possession or the value of specific personal property unlawfully withheld from the plaintiff.

RESPONDENT - the person paying the support in a support case; the defendant in a civil action.

SERVICE OF PROCESS - the communication of the court papers to the defendant, either by actual delivery or by other methods. The defendant is furnished with reasonable notice of the proceedings against him or her to afford the defendant the opportunity to appear and be heard.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE – a person may be a victim of sexual violence if any one incident of the following has occurred: Sexual battery, as defined in F.S. Chapter 794; or A lewd or lascivious act as defined in F.S. Chapter 800; or Luring or enticing a child as described in F.S. Chapter 787; or Sexual performance by a child, as described in F.S. Chapter 827; or Any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted.

SMALL CLAIMS - legal actions that deal with money/property matters of $5,000.00 or less. Proceedings in Small Claims Court are usually less formal than in other types of courts, and parties usually represent themselves without the assistance of an attorney.

  • The Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services offers limited attorney consultations to pro se or self-represented litigants (i.e. those people who do not plan to have an attorney represent them in court).

SUMMONS - a notification to a defendant in an action that an appearance or answer is required or a judgment will be entered against the defendant. The object of the summons is to notify the defendant that he has been sued.

SUBPOENA - a writ issued under authority of a court to compel the appearance of a witness at a judicial proceeding. Disobeying the subpoena may be punishable as a contempt of court.

SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM - requires the party subpoenaed to bring with them and/or produce books, records, or other tangible goods.

SUPPORT - an obligation imposed by court order that requires the respondent (obligor) to pay the petitioner (obligee) a specified amount of money. This support can be for spousal support (alimony) or child support. If the support is for the child, the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent support. A person who fails to pay the court ordered support may be held in contempt by the court and jailed until the past due amount (arrears) is paid.

TERM - indicates the provisions of the court order that determines the amount, frequency, start date, and end date of support.

UIFSA/URESA - refers to Chapter 88 of Florida Statutes and governs all interstate support actions. Uniform Interstate Family Support Act/Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act.

WRIT – a written document issued by a court or the clerk, commanding the party to whom it is addressed to perform or cease performing a specified act. (i.e. Writ of Execution or Writ of Garnishment)

WRIT OF EXECUTION – a writ empowering an officer of the court to enforce a judgment.

WRIT OF GARNISHMENT – a document rendered by the court or clerk directing a third party who holds money or property of a defendant to withhold it or appear in court.

Small Claims Information

Rules of Court that Govern Small Claims Cases

A Small Claims case is a legal action filed in County Court to settle a claim or minor legal dispute in which, the demand for monies or the value of property does not exceed $5,000.00 (five thousand dollars), excluding costs,interest and attorney fees.

Common types of actions handled by Small Claims Court include goods or services sold, money loans, auto negligence, security deposit refunds and unpaid rent (not to include evictions). The Clerk's office has specialized forms for each of these types of actions.

Requirements to File a Small Claims Case:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You may be an individual, a person "doing business as" (dba) or a corporation.
  • A minor child must have a parent or legal guardian file on his/her behalf.
Small Claims court is considered a "people's court" and a lawyer is not required. However, you may wish to consult with an attorney if there are complex legal issues or, you need legal advice on your rights and obligations.

The Clerk's staff cannot provide you with legal advice. You may seek affordable legal assistance at our Self Help Center. For more information, click HERE

Helpful Videos

Self Help Center Video

The Self Help Centers in the Clearwater Courthouse, North County Branch and St. Petersburg Judicial Building can help citizens with legal issues about Small Claims Court disputes, divorce and landlord tenant issues when they are not represented by an attorney. For further information, visit our Self Help Center page.

How to File a Small Claims Case - Part 1
 
Explains what a Small Claims Court legal action is, and how and where to file. This video provides guidelines for preparing and filling out the pre-trial paperwork.

How to File a Small Claims Case - Part 2
 
(Pre-trial & Mediation) Explains with step-by-step examples how the Small Claims Court and the mediation process work and what you can expect at the Pre-trial hearing and mediation process.

The "How to Win in Small Claims Court in Florida" book by Mark Warda, Attorney at Law, available in the Law Library located at 324 S. Ft. Harrison Ave., Clearwater, FL 33756, or your public library may have a copy.

Forms, Documents and Information Needed to File a Small Claims Case:

  • Statement of Claim
  • Documents relating to your case such as:
    • Receipts
    • contracts
    • Invoices
    • Photographs
    • Law enforcement reports
    • Promissory notes
  • Copies of all documents filed provided for each defendant 
    (The original documents are maintained in the court file.)
You must know the correct names of all of the people or companies that you are filing your claim against. Cases filed incorrectly may be difficult if not impossible to collect judgments. The correct name of a corporation can be obtained from the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations at www.sunbiz.org. Obtain the name and address of the registered agent for proper service of summons. Information on an individual or a partnership doing business as a company can be obtained by contacting the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.

The Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services offers limited attorney consultations to pro se or self-represented litigants (i.e. those people who do not plan to have an attorney represent them in court).

Small Claims Process Flowchart

Collecting A judgment

Rules of Court that Govern County Civil Cases

Rules of Court that Govern Small Claims Cases

To remove your certain private information from public records, click here for further instructions. 

Small Claims Frequently Asked Questions

Filing fees for Small Claims actions are determined by Florida Statutes and Pinellas County Ordinances, and are subject to change. A current "Schedule of Service Charges" is available on this website, as well as in any Clerks Office for your information.

Additional fees are required to serve the parties you are suing. You may contract with a Private Process Server to have the summons served or send it via certified mail. A list of private process servers compiled by the Pinellas County Sheriff's office is available here. If you need the Sheriff of another county to serve your notice, you will need to check their requirements and the address to which the notice should be sent.

Certified mail service cannot be used as method of service outside the state of Florida. However, a post office box, if it is within the state of Florida, can be used to serve via certified mail.

The pre-trial will be set within 50 days of filing, usually within 3 to 4 weeks. You will be sent by mail your pre-trial date and time within 7 days of filing. Each person or business you are suing must be served with a Summons to appear in court on the date and time the pre-trial is scheduled.

You can check to see if a party has been served by reviewing the case docket online, HERE. It should state either "NOTICE RETURNED SERVED" or "NOTICE RETURNED NOT SERVED". If the docket shows a "NO SERVICE LETTER ISSUED", this means a letter was sent to the plaintiff explaining why the case was continued. If you need to serve the party again, a written request to the Clerk is required.

Small Claims Process Flowchart

Both parties must appear at the pre-trial or have an attorney appear for them. You should be prepared to present your case to the court at the pre-trial. If the dispute cannot be settled at this time, a trial date will be scheduled by the court for your case to be heard.

Witnesses can be subpoenaed for the trial. A trial by jury may be requested by the plaintiff upon written demand when the case is filed or by the defendant within 5 days after service of Notice to Appear at pre-trial.

Requesting another pre-trial date must be done in writing. Your case number and signature must be on the request.

When the case is filed, it is only assigned either "NPC" (designating the Clearwater Courthouse location) or "SPC" (designating the St. Petersburg location). A judge will not be assigned until you go to pre-trial and either a trial is set or an Order is signed.

At the trial you will have an opportunity to explain your case to the judge, ask the person(s) you are suing any questions concerning your claim, present your documentation as discussed at the pre-trial conference and call on your witnesses to help explain your case.

The Pinellas County Clerk of the Court has produced a helpful video about Pre-trial and Mediation:

"How to File a Small Claims Case, Part II - Pre-trial & Mediation"

If, at any time in the proceedings a settlement is reached between the parties, the plaintiff [person(s) who filed suit] must notify the Clerk of the Circuit Court's Office, in writing, of the settlement. If a court date has been scheduled, the judge before whom the case is set should be notified.

If, "A Stipulation to Stay Entry of judgment" was entered into at the pretrial, but the defendants have not complied with it, in order to get a judgment:
A sworn (notarized) statement is needed per paragraph 2 of the Stipulation stating what is left due and owing. The amount cannot exceed the amount of the Stipulation. Once we receive this "Affidavit of Balance Due", the Clerk prepares the Final judgment and sends it to the Judge for signature. Copies will be mailed to both parties.

Although, the court does not collect money damages for you, a judgment lien can be placed against the defendant's name by sending a written request to the Clerk of the Circuit Court to record a certified copy of your Judgment as a Judgment Lien. Fees for recording are set by statute and are subject to change by legislative action. Refer to the current "Schedule of Service Charges" available on this website, as well as in any Clerk's Office for additional information.

Other methods of collecting include garnishing wages or bank accounts and levying on an execution. You may also find useful information about "Collecting the Judgment", on this website.

Locations

A Small Claims case may be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court at any one of the locations listed below. Please Note: For faster and more efficient service all paperwork being mailed should be sent to the Civil Court Records address.

Civil Court Records 
315 Court St., Room 170 
Clearwater, FL 33756 
(727) 464-7000

North County Branch 
29582 U.S. 19 N. 
Clearwater, FL 33761 
(727) 464-7000

St. Petersburg Branch 
545 First Ave. N. 
St. Petersburg, FL 33701 
(727) 464-7000

Effective February 17, 2009, documents will be processed and recorded at the Clearwater and St. Petersburg courthouse locations. For your convenience, documents may be dropped off at the North County and Clerk's Tyrone Branch offices to be forwarded to the Clearwater and St. Petersburg courthouse locations for recording. Please include a self-addressed envelope with your documents.

North County Branch
29582 U.S. 19 N. 
Clearwater, FL 33761 
(727) 464-7000

Tyrone Branch
1800 66th St., N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33710 
(727) 464-7000

Subpoenas

BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY DEFINES A SUBPOENA AS “a command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony upon a certain matter. A subpoena duces tecum requires production of book, papers and other things.”

FLORIDA RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 1.410(a) STATES that, “Subpoenas for testimony before the court, subpoenas for production of tangible evidence, and subpoenas for taking depositions may be issued by the clerk of court or by any attorney of record in an action.”

Other terminology:

A DEPOSITION, as defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, is “The testimony of a witness taken upon oral question or written interrogatories, not in open court, but in pursuance of a commission to take testimony issued by a court…A pretrial discovery device by which one party (through his or her attorney) asks oral questions of the other party or of a witness for the other party.”

A PRAECIPE is an order addressed to the clerk requesting the issuance of a subpoena.

Fees and Service

SUBPOENA ISSUANCE FEES and FEES FOR OTHER SERVICES are set by Florida Statute and Pinellas County Ordinances, and are subject to change. The current witness and signing and sealing fees may be determined by calling one of the offices listed at the bottom of the page or by referring to the current "Schedule of Services Charges" online or a Fee Schedule brochure available in any of the Clerk's office locations. Clerk’s Offices where subpoenas may be issued.

SUBPOENAS MUST BE SERVED (i.e. hand-delivered) by a private Process Server, unless otherwise specified by the court.

For service outside of Pinellas County, please contact the Sheriff of the County where the subpoena is being served for additional information regarding service of court papers and fees for service.

Forms

SMALL CLAIMS This witness Subpoena must be served and is only used after a pre-trial hearing. COUNTY OR CIRCUIT CIVIL This witness Subpoena must be served and is only used after a pre-trial hearing.

Subpoena Requirements

The Florida Statutes (F.S.) and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure (Fla.R.Civ.P.), Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure (Fla.R.Cr.P.) and the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure (Fla.R.Juv.P.) govern the procedures for issuing subpoenas in Civil, Criminal and Juvenile court cases.

Each subpoena may involve specific requirements that must be met either before or when the subpoena is issued. Please see the subpoena chart below and read further about these requirements and the Florida Rules of Procedure that apply specifically to each type of subpoena on the chart.

Subpoena Type Authority To Be Filed Time Frame
Civil Division
Subpoena for Deposition FLR.Civ.P.1.310 Notice of Taking Deposition NONE
Subpoena Duces Tecum for Deposition FL.R.Civ.P.1.310 Notice of Taking Deposition NONE
Subpoena Duces Tecum in Aid of Execution FL.R.Civ.P.1.560 Notice of Taking Deposition NONE
Subpoena Duces Tecum without Deposition FL.R.Civ.P.1.351 Notice of Production 10 days if delivered - 15 days if mailed /e-mailed
Subpoena Duces Tecum for Production from Non-Party FL.R.Civ.P.1.351 Notice of Production " "
Subpoena for Hearing/Trial FL.R.Civ.P.1.410 NONE NONE
Subpoena Duces Tecum for Hearing/Trial FL.R.Civ.P.1.410 NONE NONE
Foreign
(out-of-state case)
FS 92.251
FL.R.Civ.P.1.410
Notice of Taking Deposition or
Notice of Production
(if subpoena is for said act)
-Motion for Commission
-Order Granting Commission
-Original Commission
NOTE: Some states use a Rogatory instead of Commission. Also, they will have a Letter Rogatory instead of an Order Granting Commission and a Petition for Letter Rogatory instead of a Notice of Taking Deposition.
NONE
Foreign
(local case w/subpoena to be issued in different state)
  Notice of Taking Deposition
-Order Granting Motion for Commission
NONE
Criminal Division
Witness Subpoena for Hearing/Trial FS914.001 NONE NONE
Subpoena Duces Tecum for Hearing/Trial FS914.001 NONE NONE
Witness Subpoena for Deposition FL.R.CRIM.P.3.220 NONE NONE
Subpoena Duces Tecum for Deposition FL.R.CRIM.P.3.220
A.O.97-98
Order Granting Subpoena Duces Tecum for Deposition NONE
Juvenile Division
Delinquency (juvenile delinquent case) FL.R.JUV.P.8.040(c) NONE NONE
Dependency (juvenile dependent on an adult) FL.R.JUV.P.8.255(a)(2) NONE NONE

Process Server Information

The Clerk's office receives many inquiries about how to find and/or how to become a process server. However, the Clerk's office does not have a role in either the steps to locate a process server and/or to become a process server.

Pinellas County Process Servers:

If you are a private citizen or an attorney and need a non-enforceable civil summons/subpoena served, you will need to contact a Private Process Server. To obtain a list of Private Process Servers compiled by the Pinellas County Sheriff's office, please click here.

Office Locations

Clerk's Customer Information Center: (727) 464-7000
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., excluding weekends and county Holidays.
Persons with disabilities requiring reasonable accommodations at the courthouse should call (727) 464-4062, 24 hours prior to arriving. 

Clearwater Courthouse (Civil Court Records)
315 Court St., Room 170
Clearwater, FL 33756

Pinellas County Justice Center (Criminal Court Records)
14250 49th Street N.
Clearwater, FL 33762

St. Petersburg Judicial Building
545 First Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL

Collecting a Judgment

What is a Judgment?

A decision by a court or other tribunal that resolves a controversy and determines the rights and obligations of the parties. It is regarded as the court's official pronouncement of the law on the action that was pending before it. A judgment states who wins the case and what remedies the winner is awarded, and is the final part of a court case.

Judgment Lien Against Personal Property (F.S. Chapters 55 and 222)

THE JUDGMENT CREDITOR MAY OBTAIN A JUDGMENT LIEN AGAINST PERSONAL PROPERTYowned by the judgment debtor by recording a Judgment Lien Certificate with the Florida Department of State. This is required before the Sheriff’s Office can levy any such personal property.

A judgment lien may be acquired on a judgment debtor's interest in all personal property in this state subject to execution under F.S. 56.061, other than fixtures, money, negotiable instruments, and mortgages.

  • All of the judgment debtor's personal property located in Florida may be subject to such a lien.F.S. 222 provides that certain property and wages of a judgment debtor may be exempt from forced sales and garnishment to pay a valid judgment.
  • Information, instructions, and forms are available from the Florida Department of State.
  • A judgment lien against real property cannot be filed through the Florida Department of State. Please see the next section regarding judgment liens against real property.

Judgment Lien Against Real Property (F.S. Chapters 55 and 222)

THE JUDGMENT CREDITOR MAY OBTAIN A JUDGMENT LIEN AGAINST REAL PROPERTY owned by the judgment debtor by having a certified copy of the judgment/order recorded in the official records of the county where the property is located. F. S. 55.10

  • To obtain a lien against real property located in Pinellas County, you may submit a Motion for Recordation of Judgment as Lien form with the appropriate recording fee.
  • A judgment, order, or decree does not become a lien on real property unless the address of the person who has a lien as a result of such judgment, order, or decree is contained in the judgment, order, or decree or an affidavit with such address is simultaneously recorded with the judgment, order, or decree.
  • Judgment liens on real property last for ten (10) years and may be renewed for an additional ten (10) years one time, not to exceed twenty (20) years from the date of the initial judgment.
  • A judgment lien against real property cannot be filed through the Florida Department of State.

Garnishment of Wages, Money or Property (F.S. Chapters 77 and 222)

THE JUDGMENT CREDITOR MAY HAVE THE JUDGMENT DEBTOR’S PROPERTY GARNISHED. Garnishment involves the taking of tangible and/or intangible property of the judgment debtor that is in the possession of a third party and may include wages and bank accounts.
OR
Garnishment is a very technical and complicated procedure, and as such, you may wish to consult with an attorney and thoroughly review F.S. 77 and 222 and the Florida Rules of Procedure before proceeding.

Wage Garnishment

GARNISHMENT OF A JUDGMENT DEBTOR’S WAGES is a common means of collecting a judgment and is facilitated by the issuance and service of a Continuing Writ of Garnishment.

  • A Continuing Writ of Garnishment is a legal instrument issued by the court that instructs the judgment debtor’s employer (the garnishee) to make periodic payments to the judgment creditor from a portion of the judgment debtor’s salary, as it becomes due, until the judgment principle plus interest and costs are paid or until otherwise provided by court order.
  • The judgment creditor files a Motion for a Continuing Writ of Garnishment and Continuing Writ of Garnishment Order with the Clerk’s Office. The judgment creditor must pay the applicable garnishment fees. The motion and writ will be forwarded to the judge’s office for review. Only a judge can issue a Continuing Writ of Garnishment.

Bank Garnishment
GARNISHMENT OF A JUDGMENT DEBTOR’S BANK ACCOUNT is a common means of collecting a judgment and is facilitated by the issuance and service of a Writ of Garnishment.

  • A Writ of Garnishment is a legal instrument that allows a bank to freeze assets (belonging to the judgment debtor) in its control. You will need to provide as much information regarding the judgment debtor’s account, at least providing the name and location of the bank.
  • The judgment creditor files a Motion for Garnishment and Writ of Garnishment Order with the Clerk’s Office. The judgment creditor must pay the applicable garnishment fees.

Once issued:
THE WRIT OF GARNISHMENT MUST BE SERVED ON THE GARNISHEE (judgment debtor’s employer or bank) by a licensed process server.

  • The garnishee must file an answer within twenty (20) calendar days of being served, stating what sum and what tangible or intangible personal property of the judgment debtor they have or had in their possession or control at the time of their answer, service of the writ, or at any time between such times; and whether the garnishee knows of any other person indebted to the judgment debtor, or who may have any property of the judgment debtor in their possession or control.
  • Failure by the garnishee to file an answer may entitle the judgment creditor to judgment against the garnishee for the entire sum set forth in the judgment creditor’s Motion for Continuing Writ of Garnishment.
  • In the case of bank garnishments you may obtain the funds being held by the garnishee by filing a motion requesting that the court order the garnishee to release said funds. This request must be made within six (6) months of the Writ of Garnishment being served on the garnishee and should be specific as to the amounts you are requesting be released and consistent with the judgment.

Claims of Exemption Against Garnishment:

  • A judgment debtor, who is an individual (exemptions do not exist for businesses), may claim certain exemptions (as set forth in Florida Statutes, Chapter 222) within twenty (20) days after being served with the Writ of Garnishment by filing a Claim of Exemption and Request for Hearing see Florida Statute 77.041).
  • If you are a judgment debtor claiming exemptions, please be sure to completely fill out the Certificate of Service section at the bottom of the Claim of Exemption form and have the form notarized, as not doing so may cause you to lose important time and legal rights.
  • If the judgment debtor files a Claim of Exemption, the judgment creditor will have eight (8) business days (if the Claim of Exemption is hand-delivered) or fourteen (14) business days(if the Claim of Exemption is mailed) from the date the defendant signed the Certificate of Service on the Claim of Exemption form to file an objection to said exemptions.
  • If exemptions are claimed, wages, money, or property subject to the garnishment will continue to be garnished until further order of the court; however, they will be held in escrow until any dispute over the exemptions is resolved by the court.
  • If a hearing is scheduled, the Clerk’s Office or judge will notify the parties of the date and time via mail.
  • If the judgment creditor fails to file their objections to the judgment debtor’s Claim of Exemption within the allotted time frame, a hearing will not be required and the Writ of Garnishment will be automatically dissolved by the Clerk. All parties will be notified via mail of the dissolution of the writ, and any wages, money, or property being held in escrow will be released back to the judgment debtor.

Sheriff's Levy (F.S. Chapters 30, 55, 56, and 222.)

ONCE THE JUDGMENT CREDITOR HAS REGISTERED A JUDGMENT LIEN CERTIFICATE against the judgment debtor’s personal property with the Florida Secretary of State, he or she may request that the Sheriff’s Office “levy” (or seize) said property. Once the property has been levied the Sheriff’s Office will sell it and the money received from the sale will be paid out as set forth in F.S. 56.27. This process is facilitated by the issuance of service of a Writ of Execution.

Satisfaction of Judgment (F.S. Chapter 55)

A SATISFACTION OF JUDGMENT IS a legal document prepared by a judgment creditor attesting to the fact that a judgment debtor has paid, and therefore satisfied, a court acknowledged debt (or judgment).

A JUDGMENT SATISFACTION MAY BE OBTAINED ONE OF TWO WAYS:

  • Privately, by obtaining from the judgment creditor, and recording in the official records where judgment was rendered, a Satisfaction of Judgment.
  • Through the Clerk of Court by submitting a Request for Judgment Payoff with a document preparation fee payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
    • All judgments for the payment of monies rendered in the Florida Courts may be satisfied at any time (prior to the actual levy of execution-garnishment or sheriff’s levy) by payment of the full amount of the judgment principle plus interest and costs into the Registry of the Court where judgment was rendered.
    • Upon payment, the clerk shall execute and record in the official records a Satisfaction of Judgment, when requested by the judgment creditor.

UPON THE RECORDATION OF THE SATISFACTION any lien created by the judgment is discharged.

Forms (Please use the appropriate form for your case type.)

Garnishment Forms

Should you have any further questions regarding the above referenced procedures please contact the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court, Civil Court Records Department at (727) 464-7000 or the Pinellas County Sheriff, Civil Section at (727) 582-6240. The Clerk’s and Sheriff’s Offices cannot answer legal questions nor advise you of your legal rights. It is therefore advisable that you consult with an attorney, as these can be complicated areas of the law, before you proceed.

Office Locations

Forms may be filed or additional information obtained, at any of the locations listed below. Writs of Garnishment may be filed at any of these locations but will be forwarded to the Civil Court Records Department in downtown Clearwater for processing. Please Note: For faster and more efficient service, all paperwork being mailed should be sent to the Civil Court Records address.

Call (727) 464-7000 for more information.

Civil Court Records
315 Court Street, Room 170
Clearwater, FL 33756

North County Branch
29582 U.S. 19 North
Clearwater, FL 33761

St. Petersburg Branch
545 First Avenue North, Room 101
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Office hours for these and all Clerk's locations may be found here.

Civil Court Records Appeals

An appeal of a lower court decision is a legal process by which a higher court is asked to review the trial court's record and rule on the legal issues raised by the appellant, the person filing the appeal. All other parties in the case are the appellees.

Any party to the case may file an appeal. A Civil case appeal (Small Claims, County Civil, Circuit Civil or Family) must follow the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure 9.200 for the Record, 9.210 for the brief and 9.900 for the forms.

Small Claims and County Court cases are appealed to the Circuit Appellate Court.
Circuit Court and Family Division cases are appealed to the 2nd District Court of Appeals.

Requirements to File an Appeal:

A Notice of Appeal must be filed with the Clerk within 30 days from the date the judgment or order being appealed is filed with the Clerk and must be in the form prescribed by Florida Rules of Appellate Procedures, found in Rule 9.900. The following is also required to be filed at the same time with the Notice of Appeal:

Small Claims and County Civil cases:

  • Original Notice of Appeal with attached copy of order or judgment being appealed.
  • Fees made payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court:** (Fees can be paid through the e-portal or by mail)
    • Filing Fee
    • Per page fee for copying notice of appeal (including any attachment pages submitted)
    • Certification of copy fee (for the Notice of Appeal for Appellate Court)

A current "Fee Schedule" is available on this website, as well as in any Clerk's Office for your information.

Family and Circuit Civil cases:

Original Notice of Appeal with attached copy of order or judgment being appealed

The following fees** are payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court:

  • Filing Fee
  • Per page fee for copying notice of appeal (including any attachment pages submitted)
  • Certification of copy fee (for the Notice of Appeal for Appellate Court)
The following fees are payable to the 2nd District Court of Appeals:
  • Filing Fee in the form of a check or money order payable to the 2nd District Court of Appeals
    • A Check or money order can be mailed to the 2nd DCA
      P.O. Box 327
      Lakeland, FL 33802
      or
    • The payment can be made on the state e-filing portal https://www.myflcourtaccess.com/ 

** Please note: Pursuant to Florida Statute 28.24, the appellant will also be billed a service charge upon preparation of the Record on Appeal on a final order as follows:

Directions to the Clerk, stating which documents are desired to be included in the Record of Appeal, must be filed within 10 days after the filing of the Notice of Appeal or Appellate Rules 9.200 will be followed when preparing the Record.

A per instrument fee submitted in the Record, A fee for certification, plus postage if the prepared record is to be mailed to the 2nd District Court of Appeals. Payment for these service charges is required to be made before the Record on Appeal will be submitted to the Court. Failure to pay these fees may result in a dismissal of your appeal.

The Clerk will not prepare a record on a non-final order unless directed by the Court to do so. 

There are no hearings in the Appellate Division. All cases are reviewed through the filing of briefs as per Florida Rule of Appellate Procedures 9.210.

If appealing a Circuit Civil or Family case, please submit briefs directly to the 2nd District Court of Appeals, PO Box 327, Lakeland, FL 33802-0327.

If appealing a Small Claims or County Civil case, please submit briefs to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, 315 Court Street, Room 170, Clearwater, FL 33756.

Other Appeals Filed in Civil Court

Writs of Certiorari, Writs of Mandamus, Writs of Prohibition and Administrative Appeals are also filed in Civil Court.

  • These are orders appealed from County, State or Municipal Agency Divisions
  • The Circuit Court of Appeal reviews these appeals prescribed by Florida Rules of Court 9.030
  • Filing Fees

Where to file and/or get more information:

Questions regarding Civil case appeals contact:
Civil Court Records

315 Court Street, Room 170
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 464-7000

Questions regarding Probate case appeals contact:
Probate Court Records
315 Court Street, Room 106
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 464-7000

Questions regarding Criminal, Juvenile or Traffic appeals contact:
Criminal Court Records
14250 49th Street North
Clearwater, FL 33762
(727) 464-7000

Links:

2nd District Court of Appeals
Florida Rules of Appellate Procedures (192 page PDF document)

Landlord/Tenant Actions

A residential landlord/tenant action applies to the rental of a non-commercial dwelling unit and is an action filed by a landlord against a tenant on common disputes such as payment of rent, non-compliance or breach of a lease or rental agreement.

A landlord (the owner or lessor of a dwelling) may file a residential landlord action against a tenant (a person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit under a rental agreement). If you have a commercial, agricultural or personal property lease, you should consult an attorney for the proper procedures to resolve disputes.

Landlord/tenant actions involving money amounts only and that are under $5,000 (five thousand dollars) can be filed in Small Claims Court. Evictions or other breach of lease issues must be filed in County Court.

Before you can file a residential landlord/tenant action, proper written notice must first be given to the tenant. The form of the notice will depend on the landlord's reason for terminating the lease.

Helpful Information

The Clerk's Self Help Center offers affordable legal services in the form of limited attorney consultations to pro se or self-represented litigants (i.e. those who do not plan to have an attorney represent them in court). Form packets may also be purchased at the Clerk's Self Help Center or downloaded from our website free of charge.

More information about landlord and tenant responsibilities can be found on the Division of Consumer Services website.

Information from the St. Petersburg Times is available: In Adobe Acrobat format, HERE.  In Microsoft Word format, HERE.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Landlord / Tenant Matters

There are forms landlords will need to send to tenants to terminate the lease and evict the tenant and forms for tenants to use to give notice to the landlord to end the lease or withhold rent payments.

The Clerk's Civil Court Records departments and Self Help Centers have forms designed for use in the event of common residential/landlord disputes available for purchase. Additionally, a packet of forms can be obtained online, HERE. If you would like to consult with an attorney and have an attorney review your forms before filing them, you may visit the Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable attorney consultations starting at $15 for 15 minutes.

In order to file a landlord action, you must file a complaint and provide summonses for the Clerk  to issue to each tenant.  The issued summons(es) will be returned to you in the postage paid addressed envelope that you provide.  You will then need to contract with a Private Process Server (click here for a list of Pinellas County appointed process servers) to have the summons(es) served on the tenant(s).  Bring the following documents with you to file your case with the Clerk's Office:

  • Complaint for Eviction [Form #5 or 5a] with attached copy of the written lease agreement and/or Notice to Pay Rent [Form #1]
    Copies required – (1) Original filed with the Clerk and (1) copy for each Defendant to be served*
  • Civil Cover Sheet [Form #1.997]
  • Authorization of Property Manager [Form #COCIV 87]. Only provide if you are a property manager filing a complaint on behalf of a landlord
    • Pursuant to Administrative Order 2006-070, a Property Manager can represent a landlord in an uncontested residential eviction. Once a residential eviction becomes contested, the Landlord must either represent themselves or be represented by an attorney.
  • Summons on Claim for Possession of Residential Premises and/or Ancillary Relief [Form #7] – must provide separate summons for each tenant
    Must also include Spanish and French translations (pg. 2 of Form #7)
    Copies required – (1) Original and (1) copy for each Defendant to be served.*
  • $10.00 summons fee – payable to the Clerk of Circuit Court (fee required for each summons issued by the Clerk)
  • One self-addressed envelope with postage (stamped) for the Clerk to return the summonses to you

* If you anticipate posting, per Florida Statute 48.183, the landlord must provide an additional copy of the complaint with attachments, summons, and a pre-addressed stamped envelope for mailing to each Defendant.

In addition, filing fees will be owed and a process fee for service by a private process server or service by publication.

There are different requirements for tenant actions. You may wish to consult an attorney or refer to the public library or law library for detailed information.

The Clerk's Self Help Center offers affordable legal services in the form of limited attorney consultations to pro se or self-represented litigants (i.e. those who do not plan to have an attorney represent them in court). Attorney consultations start at $15 for 15 minutes. Form packets may also be purchased at the Clerk's Self Help Center.

You may wish to consult with an attorney or familiarize yourself with the procedures for enforcing your rights under your lease. If you would like to consult with an attorney and have an attorney review your forms before filing them, you may visit the Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable attorney consultations starting at $15 for 15 minutes.

The residential landlord/tenant relationship is controlled by the terms of your lease and by Part II of Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes. The procedures for enforcing your rights can be found in section 51.011 Florida Statutes. The public library or the law library located in the Old Clearwater Courthouse at 324 South Fort Harrison Ave., will have these reference materials. Forms approved for use in the Sixth Judicial Circuit are available in the Clerk's Office for individuals filing landlord/tenant actions on their own behalf (pro se).

The Clerk's Civil Court Records departments and Self Help Centers have forms designed for use in the event of common residential/landlord disputes available for purchase. Additionally, a packet of forms can be obtained online, HERE. If you would like to consult with an attorney and have an attorney review your forms before filing them, you may visit the Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable attorney consultations starting at $15 for 15 minutes.

An additional resource is www.800helpfla.com.

The party served the summons will have a specific time period in which to respond dependent upon the type of summons issued.

If a response is filed, you will need to contact the assigned judge's office to schedule a court date.

If no response is received or no monies are deposited into the court registry, you may file a Motion for Default with the Clerk's Office.

If the Court enters a final judgment against a party in default and the final judgment is for eviction, you may ask the Clerk to execute a Writ of Possession if you anticipate having to forcibly remove the tenant or tenant's possessions.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office currently charges a fee of $90.00 to serve the writ. The Sheriff accepts in-state checks, money orders or cashier checks. Please make the payment payable to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and include with the Writ of Possession submitted to the Clerk's Office.

Mortgage Foreclosure Information and Services

Mortgage Foreclosure Calendar
Online Mortgage Foreclosure Sales Website
Mortgage Foreclosure Administrative Orders
Owner's Claim for Surplus Funds
Foreclosure Statistics
Lis Pendens fees
The Federal Reserve Board - 5 Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure Scams

Organizations that may be able to help:

Are you a tenant in a home that is being foreclosed on?
Florida Statute 83.561 Termination of rental agreement upon foreclosure may assist you in understanding your rights.

Filing a Mortgage Foreclosure case?
The Sixth Judicial Circuit’s A.O. No. 2017-007 requires that additional documents be filed in all mortgage foreclosure cases in Pinellas County and provides changes in procedures which may affect the sale.

Additionally, pursuant to 28.241 (1)(a) 2.b, "a party shall estimate in writing the amount in controversy of the claim upon filing the action." As a convenience, we have provided this form, which may be used to estimate the value of real property or mortgage foreclosure claims.

Lis Pendens (Notice of) may be required in a foreclosure action to be placed in the public record to warn persons (such as prospective purchasers or others having an interest in the property under suit) that the title to the property is in litigation and may be bound by an adverse judgment. The Lis Pendens must be recorded and the person filing must pay the recording fee of $5.00 for the 1st page and $4.00 for each additional page, plus $1.00 for each name over 4 names listed style of the document. (To calculate Lis Pendens fees go to the Recording Fees Calculator).

Any party that wishes to participate in mediation may file a Motion for Mediation of a residential mortgage foreclosure case in accordance with section 44.102, Florida Statutes, and Rules of Civil Procedure 1.700-1.730. The Court’s Circuit Civil Mediation Program will manage residential and commercial foreclosure cases referred to mediation.

Notice of Sale

A.O. No. 2017-007

The lender is responsible for completing and submitting the Notice of Sale directly to the appropriate newspaper. Notices must be prepared and published in accordance with chapters 45 and 702, of the Florida Statutes. The lender must file the original Notice of Sale and Affidavit of Proof of Publication with the Clerk no later than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the sale. The mere failure to publish a notice of sale is not a ground for canceling the sale, and does not impair the Clerk’s authority to issue a certificate of sale, but Plaintiff’s failure to timely publish notice may subject the Plaintiff to sanctions.

In an effort to assist with the Notice of Sale requirements and the commonly used publications, the following information is provided:

  • Notices must be prepared in accordance with F.S. 45031, section 2.
  • Notice of sale shall be published once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation, as defined in Chapter 50, published in the county where the sale is to be held. The second publication shall be at least 5 days before the sale.
  • A description of the property to be sold.
  • The time and place of sale.
  • A statement that the sale will be made pursuant to the order or final judgment.
  • The caption of the action.
  • The name of the clerk making the sale. (e.g. Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of Court)
  • A statement that any person claiming an interest in the surplus from the sale, if any, other than the property owner as of the date of the lis pendens must file a claim within 60 days after the sale.
  • Plaintiffs must check the Clerk’s website for any documents, such as a bankruptcy or an Order vacating sale, that would prevent the sale from taking place.
  • Plaintiffs must inform the newspaper of the publication dates.

Commonly used publications are:

  • Business Observer – Legal Department
    Deadline: 2 p.m., Wednesday
    Contact: Kelly Martin
    Phone: (727) 447-7784 / Fax: (727) 447-3944 / Email: legal@businessobserverfl.com
  • La Gaceta
    Wednesday Deadline: 12 p.m. for Friday publishing
    Contact: Erin Manteiga
    Email: legals@lagacetanewspaper.com
  • Tampa Bay Times – Legal Notice Desk
    Sunday Deadline: 12 p.m., Wednesday Deadline: 12 p.m.
    Contact: Bob Harry
    Phone:(727) 893-8358 / Fax: (727) 892-2902 / Email: legals@tampabay.com
  • The Weekly Challenger
    Deadline: 5:00 pm, Tuesday
    Contact: Michael Lewis
    Phone:(727) 709-2335 / Email: editor@theweeklychallenger.com

Online Mortgage Foreclosure Sales

View the Mortgage Foreclosure Calendar here.

Effective October 4, 2010, foreclosure sales will be conducted online at www.pinellas.realforeclose.com, Monday through Friday beginning at 10:00 a.m., EST on the specified dates by judicial order or final judgment. Check the electronic online auction calendar located on this website.

Public computer terminals will be available for use during sales in the Clerk’s Offices located in the back of the Official Records Department of the Clearwater Courthouse at 315 Court St, Room 163, and the Judicial Building in St. Petersburg at 545 1st Ave. North.

BUYERS BEWARE!
All properties or liens are sold “AS IS”. Bidders are responsible for conducting their own research as to the property/lien being sold. The Clerk’s Office makes no warranties or representation about the location or condition regarding any property, the condition of any structures or fixtures, its marketability, existing or potential uses, zoning regulations or laws that may affect current or future uses of the property, outstanding or potential liens, mortgages or other encumbrances or defects in title that may exist, including whether any defendants have filed a bankruptcy.

Conditions of Sale:
Foreclosure files are available for viewing between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in Room 170 of the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court Street, Clearwater, FL or online here.

Deposits:
Pursuant to F.S. 45.031, in advance of the sale, a deposit must be made equal to 5% of your successful final bid(s) for each property you wish to bid on. The advance deposit can be made on this site via wire transfer (see NOTE below) or in person at the Clearwater Courthouse, 315 Court Street, Room 170, Clearwater, FL 33756 or in St. Petersburg at the Judicial Building at 545 1st Avenue North, St Petersburg, FL 33701, by cash, cashier’s check, money order, certified check, official bank check, government issued checks or if represented by an attorney, by attorney trust account check (clearly delineated as such on the check). Please make any checks payable to: Clerk of the Circuit Court.

In person deposits require the bidder to initiate the deposit on the www.pinellas.realforeclose.com, site by selecting counter deposit and printing a deposit slip. The deposit slips contain vital information needed to apply funds received to bidder’s account and must be provided to the Clerk’s Office for counter deposits.

If a judgment holder is the successful bidder, the 5% deposit will be credited against the judgment amount. The judgment holder thus does not need to pay funds for the deposit unless he or she bids above the amount of their judgment credit.

Bidding:
To be eligible to bid on an auction you must register at www.pinellas.realforeclose.com. The site provides information for each pending sale, including the case number and legal description. The Clerk and Realauction.com are not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information provided on this site. Proxy bidding is available prior to the day of the scheduled sale you wish to bid on.

Instructions and additional information on how to place your bids can be located at www.pinellas.realforeclose.com.

Successful Bidder/Final Payment:
If you are the successful bidder, the 5% advance deposit will be automatically applied to your final payment and the difference between the deposit and the total amount due must be received by the Clerk by 11:00 am EST on the next business day after the sale.

Pursuant to sections 28.24(10), Florida Statutes, the successful bidder must pay the following costs: documentary stamp taxes ($.70 per $100.00); and Court Registry fees of three percent (3%) of the first $500.00, and one and a half percent (1.5%) of the balance of the amount bid and any other costs as set forth in the Judgment or order of the court.

Final payment may be made in person by; cash, cashier’s check, money order, certified check, official bank check, government issued checks, or if represented by an attorney, by attorney trust account check at the Clearwater Courthouse at 315 Court Street, Room 170 or the Judicial Building in St. Petersburg at 545 1st Avenue North. Additionally, final payment may be made by wire transfer. Such wire transfer must be received by the Clerk’s bank by 11:00am EST the next business day after the sale and clearly indicate the case number for which payment is being made. Additionally, beginning May 1, 2017 all bidders will be able to make pre and post-sale payments from their bidder accounts, provided there are sufficient funds on deposit to cover the total amount due. Final payment may not be made by ACH/electronic check.

Failure to Pay:
Failure to pay the balance of the final bid plus all fees due by 11:00am EST the next business day following the sale will result in forfeiture of the 5% deposit and nullification of the sale. The Clerk will retain the statutory registry of the court fees and the electronic online auction fee from the forfeited deposit. Any remaining funds will be disbursed according to court order.

IF THE SALE IS SET ASIDE, THE CLERK WILL RETAIN THE CLERKS FEE FOR CONDUCTING THE SALE AND THE ELECTRONIC SALE FEE, AS ENTITLED BY LAW.

Credit for Interest or Attorney Fees:
In order to receive credit at the time of the sale for costs incurred after judgment (provided the judgment awarded the right to recover same), each judgment holder must provide to the Clerk, before the sale, an affidavit stating the amounts incurred. Attorney fees will only be paid in accordance with court orders.

Redemption:
Pursuant to F.S. 45.0315, the mortgagor (the borrower(s) in a mortgage, typically a homeowner(s)) or the holder of any subordinate interest may cure the indebtedness and prevent a foreclosure sale by paying the amount of monies specified in the judgment “at any time before the filing of a certificate of sale by the Clerk of Court or the time specified in the judgment, whichever is later.” Payment for redemption must be made by cash, cashier’s check, money order, certified check or official bank check drawn upon a U.S. banking institution made payable to Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court, pursuant to the final judgment, plus Clerk’s sales fee (if redemption occurs after the sale), interest and all related costs of the sale.

Bankruptcy:
Pursuant to A.O. No. 2017-007, If, prior to the commencement of a foreclosure sale, the Clerk receives a formal Suggestion of Bankruptcy on behalf of a named Defendant in that foreclosure case, the Clerk shall remove the foreclosure sale from the docket without Court order. The Court may order the sale to proceed based upon evidence that there is a valid bankruptcy court order lifting the stay or dismissing the bankruptcy case.

Any interested parties (including the Plaintiff, junior lienholders or third party purchaser) may seek a bankruptcy court order to show there was no valid stay, that the stay was lifted, or to seek other appropriate relief pursuant to 11 U.S.C section 362.

In the event a foreclosure sale proceeds and is later vacated due to a bankruptcy stay, when no formal Suggestion of Bankruptcy was filed in the foreclosure case or the Court ordered the sale to proceed, the Clerk shall not be required to refund mandatory court registry or sales fees. See Wilken v. North County Co., Inc., 670 So. 2d 181 (4th DCA 1976) (stating that the buyer at a foreclosure sale assumes the risk of losing the court registry and sales fees if the sale is voided, and holding that a court could determine the party responsible for reimbursing such fees upon the invalidation of a foreclosure sale).

Information for claiming Surplus Funds after a Mortgage Foreclosure Sale

Homeowners and Lienholders:

Surplus funds are defined as money remaining from mortgage foreclosure sale proceeds after all payments required by the Final Judgment have been paid. 

Pursuant to Florida Statute 45.031(1)(a) and (b):

IF YOU ARE A SUBORDINATE LIENHOLDER CLAIMING A RIGHT TO FUNDS REMAINING AFTER THE SALE, YOU MUST FILE A CLAIM WITH THE CLERK NO LATER THAN 60 DAYS AFTER THE SALE. IF YOU FAIL TO FILE A CLAIM, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO ANY REMAINING FUNDS.

IF YOU ARE THE PROPERTY OWNER, YOU MAY CLAIM THESE FUNDS YOURSELF. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO HAVE A LAWYER OR ANY OTHER REPRESENTATION AND YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ASSIGN YOUR RIGHTS TO ANYONE ELSE IN ORDER FOR YOU TO CLAIM ANY MONEY TO WHICH YOU ARE ENTITLED. PLEASE CHECK WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT, (INSERT INFORMATION FOR APPLICABLE COURT) WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS AFTER THE SALE TO SEE IF THERE IS ADDITIONAL MONEY FROM THE FORECLOSURE SALE THAT THE CLERK HAS IN THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT.

AFTER 60 DAYS, ONLY THE OWNER OF RECORD AS OF THE DATE OF THE LIS PENDENS MAY CLAIM THE SURPLUS.

The amount of funds, if any, remaining after a Mortgage Foreclosure sale will be detailed on the Certificate of Disbursements, which is mailed to all parties in a case upon the certificate of title being issued.  Please keep your address updated with the Clerk’s Office so you will receive this mailing in a timely manner.  The Clerk cannot disburse these funds without a court order.

If you are a subordinate lienholder, you must file your claim within 60 days after the date of the Certificate of Disbursement.  If you are the homeowner, you may use the suggested form in Florida Statute 45.032 to establish your claim.  For convenience, we have included that form, Owner’s Claim for Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus, on our website.  In addition, to submit your claim to the Court, you should file a General Motion form.  You will then need to contact the Judge assigned to your case to schedule a hearing to determine entitlement to the funds. Copies of all pleadings must be sent to all parties in the case. 

If no claims have been filed for the surplus funds within 60 days after the sale, the Clerk continues to hold the funds in the court registry and follows the procedures outlined in Florida Statute 45.032