County Civil

The County Civil division of the Clerk’s Office handles civil actions in which the damages being sought or the matter in controversy are valued between $8,001.00 and $30,000.00. Once the case is filed, the plaintiff must ensure that the defendant is properly served with a notice of service by the Sheriff’s Office or a private process server.  Due to the complex legal nature of these cases, the County Civil division does not offer any forms or advice on how to proceed with these actions and we cannot refer an attorney or a process server to you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What types of cases are most commonly filed in the County Civil division
Some types of cases that are filed in the County Civil division are:

  • Evictions
  • Replevin
  • Declaratory Judgments
  • All other civil actions that do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court or Small Claims Court.

How do I find an attorney?
The Florida Bar is able to provide legal referrals. You can contact the Florida Bar at 850-561-5600 or at https://www.floridabar.org/ . Click on the “Find a Lawyer” button then click on the “Lawyer Referral Service Site” link.

How do I find someone to serve my documents?
You can have your summons (issued to you by the Clerk’s Office) served by the Sheriff’s Office or a private process server. You cannot have a court hearing until the person or business you are suing is served. You must know the correct name of the person, business, or corporation you are suing as well as their address and phone number, if possible. If the defendant is not served, you may attempt service again when you have located a new address. If you are suing a business, you should contact the Secretary of State Website at www.sunbiz.org to retrieve the information needed to have your summons served on the Registered Agent of the corporation or business.

  • Sheriff’s Service Fee – The Sheriff’s service fee is $40.00 per defendant for Florida residents. Out of state Sheriff’s departments may charge a different fee. You are required to have a money order or business check made payable to the Sheriff of the County where the resident resides. 
  • Private Process Server – You will need to contact the process server of your choice to determine the cost of service. The Clerk’s Office cannot refer a process server to you. You can get a referral from the Florida Association of Professional Process Servers at (https://fapps.org/) which provides a “Find A Process Server” link on their website.

How does the eviction process work?
Both landlords and tenants have certain rights that are protected by Florida law. If you are a tenant having a problem with your landlord or a landlord who needs to evict a tenant, your County Civil clerk can help you but cannot give you legal advice. All forms that you would need to file an eviction are available to you at the Clerk’s Office for a small fee. There are 5 steps in the eviction process:

  1. The landlord must give the tenant a written notice. The two most common reasons for eviction are 1) non-payment of rent and 2) to take possession of the property. The written notice that must be provided will vary depending on the reason for eviction.

Non-Payment of Rent: If you are evicting your tenant for non-payment of rent, you need to give the tenant a 3-day written notice to pay the rent or vacate. When calculating this time, you do not count the day of delivery, weekends, or holidays. You may post the notice on the door, mail it, or hand it to the tenant. The 3-day notice must seek only rent that is due. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, you would bring a copy of the 3-day notice to our office and file your eviction complaint with the court.

Possession of Property: If you are evicting your tenant for possession only, you will need to give the tenant a 7 or 15 day notice (depending on how the tenant pays the rent to you) to vacate. If the tenancy is week to week, you must give a 7-day notice. If the tenancy is month to month, you must give a 15 day notice. If you give a 15 day notice, there must be 15 days between the date you give the notice and the date you want them out. There can be more than 15 days, but no less than 15 days. The 15th day must be on the date the rent is due again. If the tenant does not comply with the notice you will need to bring a copy of the notice to our office and file your eviction complaint with the court.

  1. The landlord must file the eviction notice with the court. To do this, you can present to the court a copy of the notice that you gave your tenant along with the appropriate filing fee. The clerk will give you the appropriate forms to file the eviction, according to the type of notice you have given to your tenant.
  2. The landlord must serve the tenant with a summons. Once you have filed your eviction, the clerk will prepare a summons to be served on your tenant. Serve and return copies will be provided to the plaintiff (landlord) to deliver to the sheriff or process server to serve the defendant (tenant). Once the summons is served, the tenant has 5 business days to respond to your eviction and 20 days to respond on the past due rent and damages. The tenant is instructed to file their original answer with the clerk and send a copy to the landlord. The tenant should deposit with the Clerk the rent that is past due plus the registry fee of 3% of the first $500.00 and 1.5% of the balance, which is nonrefundable, or file a Motion for the Court to determine. The tenant should deposit with the Clerk the monthly rent until the case is settled.
  3. The landlord must file either a motion for default or a motion for hearing. When the 5 business days have expired and if the tenant did not respond to the summons, the landlord would file a Motion for Default with the court. If the tenant did respond to the summons, the Clerk will notify the Judge for Trial determination. Once you have filed the appropriate form, the clerk will prepare any necessary paperwork and then send the file to the Judge. The Judge will either set the case for a hearing or grant the landlord possession of the property. If the Judge grants the landlord possession of the property, the clerk will issue a Judgment Eviction and Writ of Possession.
  4. The landlord must execute or serve the Writ of Possession. The landlord must contact the Sheriff’s Office to execute the Writ of Possession. The Sheriff will charge a fee to serve these documents. The Sheriff will post the Writ of Possession on the property and then contact the landlord to deliver possession of the property.

If you have questions please contact our office.