Dena Standley | September 16, 2022
Summary: Each county in Florida has a tool where you can search the status of your court case online. You can also pay a visit to your local courthouse and get help from the clerk to look up your court records. If you have been sued for a debt, SoloSuit can help you respond and win in court.
Receiving a debt collection lawsuit can throw you off balance if you are facing financial challenges. Even after responding to the lawsuit, you need to keep track of your court case to avoid missing a court hearing or other vital documents. Florida allows you to look up your case status remotely on your county's online portal or visit the courthouse and access your records via an official written request or the public terminal.
Accessing your debt collection court records from millions of court documents can be overwhelming. Today, SoloSuit will help you understand how Florida's court system works and how you can access your records without breaking a sweat.
Let's dive right into it.
The starting point in locating your court records is understanding how Florida's court structure works. This information will help you narrow the search by finding the specific court that hears your case. Since debt collection lawsuits always fall under the civil department, we will be focusing on the civil courts of Florida in this section.
For starters, there are four court levels that deal with civil cases in Florida:
The Florida court system comprises two appellate-level courts and two trial-level courts. The appellate courts include the Supreme Court and the five District Courts of Appeals, while the trial courts include twenty Circuit Courts and sixty-seven County Courts (one per county).
When someone disagrees with the outcome of their case, they can appeal. At this point, the case will be moved from a trial court to either the District Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.
Most civil and criminal cases filed in Florida must first be submitted to the County and Circuit Court and can be appealed to the higher courts if needed. Your debt collection case will likely be in the small claims division of your county court—if the amount you allegedly owe does not exceed $8,000. Civil cases with claims between $8,000 and $30,000 are heard in the main county court. Circuit courts have jurisdiction over cases for claims that exceed $30,000.
The image below further illustrates Florida's court structure:
Florida small claims special rules allow you to represent yourself in your debt collection lawsuit. SoloSuit can help you succeed by providing you with the documents you need to respond to the lawsuit and various tips on how to represent yourself, as this video explains:
You can access your records online or at the courthouse. A case number is a unique number given to each case that contains numbers, letters, and special characters. The number can be generated using the year the case was filed, the position of the case, the judge's initials, or the court name. Examples of case numbers are 14-10154 (2016) and 12-14628.
You can find your case number using the Florida online portal or in your county's portal by entering search filters such as:
You can also get your case number by calling the court clerk or visiting the courthouse where the collection agency filed the case. Find your court location using the Florida court directory. Just type in your city or county, and the directory will pull up all the courts within that region with the courthouse addresses, court website, and clerk information.
At this point, you are closer to finding your case records if you know the case number or have crucial details, such as the court where the collection agency filed the case. Florida offers you two options for finding your case records:
Florida laws permit you to obtain your court records from the courthouse in person or via mail. Once you know the courthouse your case was filed in, you can physically go to the courthouse and ask the clerk to locate the file and make copies. Find your court's physical address here.
Courthouses in counties such as Miami-Dade, Orange, and Broward have public terminals where residents can access case files online and make copies at a fee. In these counties, you will pay $1 per page and $2 per page if you need it certified.
If you send the court records request by mail, you must include the relevant details discussed above and a self-addressed stamped envelope, so the court knows where to send your documents back to you.
Checking your records online saves you the burden of physically going to the courthouse and waiting for some time before the county clerk can serve you. All Florida counties have an online access portal where you can locate your court case within minutes.
Most county search requests require the case number, party names, case type, date filed, and attorney's name and bar number. The following are links to the case search portals for all but one Florida county:
It's important to note that some of these court case search tools may only yield results for cases found within the County Court levels.
Salvaging your financial situation after being sued can be challenging without the right documents and resources. SoloSuit's sole purpose is to help consumers get out of debt without losing more money or being taken advantage of by collection agencies.
If you've been sued for a debt in Florida, you have 20 days to respond before you lose by default. The first step to winning your debt collection lawsuit is to respond to the case with a written Answer. SoloSuit can help you draft and file your Answer in just 15 minutes.
To learn more about how to respond to a debt lawsuit, check out this video:
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
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Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.