In today’s society with letter writing taking a back burner to emailing, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter as well as other social media within our social lives, it isn’t a far stretch for businesses to begin operating and communicating in a like manner. More e-mails are being sent between attorney’s, instead of letters being drafted for each issue. On June 21, 2012, however, the Supreme Court of Florida issued a Second Corrected Opinion which adopted a new Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516 that in turn changes the way everyone operates in the day to day of the legal world. Essentially, this rule mandates that all documents which are required or permitted to be served on another party, are now to be served by e-mail unless this new rule provides otherwise.
Specifically as it relates to Family Law, all attorneys in Florida (unless excused by court order within that specific case) are mandated to abide by the new rule beginning September 1, 2012. This rule applies to ongoing cases, as well as new cases.
A power point presentation, Service by E-Mail and E-Filing, was prepared by the Florida Bar and is currently accessible from their home page as well as the link herein. This power point, a mere 40 pages in length, is a great tool to better understand the rules surrounding service of documents by e-mail. This presentation pinpoints the requirements and changes from the e-mail address(es) that should be utilized to send your e-mails (pg. 13), to the time of service (pg. 25), along with the format of not only the e-mail and the subject line (pg. 28 & 32) as well as the requirements of how the document being served is attached (pg. 27 & 30).
While this rule mainly affects the attorneys procedures in providing documents to another party, there are additional provisions relating to self-represented litigants. If self-represented litigants choose to participate in service by e-mail, they may do so even though it is not required. Amazing how life keeps changing and how technology keeps shaping things. Please be aware of this new rule as you proceed forward with your case!