New Rules about Privacy
In an effort to protect the identity and privacy of the citizens of Florida, the Florida Supreme Court has recently approved Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.425. The Rule, titled “Minimization of the Filing of Sensitive Information” outlines the procedures that all persons filing pleadings and other documents with the court – attorneys and lay people alike – must comply with and provides for sanctions should the provisions be violated.
Of particular interest to the Family Law community are the procedures which relate to the sensitive information of children. What is considered “sensitive” information may come as a surprise to many. It is not just information such as social security numbers (which is banned altogether except in limited exceptions) but basic information such as a child’s full name and date of birth. This information must be eliminated from all documents filed with the Court, including initial Petitions, with some minimal exceptions, as follows:
- The full date of birth of a minor may be included in a document filed with the court whenever the birth date is necessary for the court to establish or maintain subject matter jurisdiction. An example of this exception may be where the court must determine a child is a minor in order to have jurisdiction, such as in a dependency or juvenile court matter.
- The name of a minor child may be included in any order relating to the parental responsibility, time-sharing or support of the minor child. For example, a court is permitted to use a child’s full name in a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage where the above-mentioned issues are adjudicated by the court.
- The use of a child’s full name is permitted in any document or order affecting the child’s ownership of real property (land).
- The use of the child’s name or date of birth is utilized if such information is relevant and material to an issue before the court. For example, a child’s date of birth would be relevant and material to an issue before the court if the parents of the child were in dispute as the child’s date of birth for the purposes of determining the cut-off date for child support obligations.
Attorneys and lay people alike should carefully adhere to the provisions in Rule 2.425, not just for the sake of privacy, but because the Rule also allows for sanctions to be imposed upon any violator of the Rule. If unsure as to whether Rule 2.425 applies to a document you plan on filing with the Court, be sure to consult with an attorney, or the Florida Rule of Judicial Administration, which can be found on the Florida Bar’s website at www.floridabar.org.
As always, if there are any family law matters we can assist you with, please don’t hesitate to let us know!