APRIL 2020
The latest news and updates
We want you to know that Seminole County Legal Aid is here to serve our community during this time of need. It is important we share a few steps with you of the preventative measures we are taking to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus and keep applicants, clients, volunteers and staff safe.
 
We will be working remotely. We will be using video conferencing, phone conferences and e-signing software and technology to maintain our legal services with minimal interruptions. The following is our staff’s contact information for your use and convenience. We are committed to you and our community.

Assistant Coordinator: (to apply for legal assistance or for further information): (407) 834 -1660 ext. 100 or (863) 606-3732 or assistantcoordinator@scbalas.com
 
Pro Bono Coordinator (for approved Pro Bono clients): (407) 834-1660 ext. 113 or (407) 490-2612 or coordinator@scbalas.com
 
Attorney Silvia McLain: (407) 834-1660 ext. 108 or (407) 494-1832 or paralegal@scbalas.com
 
Attorney Sue Selsky: (407) 834-1660 ext. 101 or (863) 272-9731 or dgarza@scbalas.com
 
Attorney Yvonne Alonso: (407) 834-1660 ext. 111 or (863) 225-3049 or rmartinez@scbalas.com
 
Attorney JoAnne Desile: (407) 834-1660 ext. 107 or (407) 494-3265 or cleonard@scbalas.com
Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order AOSC20—17 Addresses Notary Requirement of Certain Family Law Forms
Written by Silvia McLain, Esq.
The requirement that Florida Family Law Forms be notarized or signed in the presence of a deputy clerk was suspended by the Florida Supreme Court through the close of business on Friday, April 17, 2020, or as provided by subsequent order, if the filer includes the following statement before the filer’s signature:
 
Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have read this document and the facts stated in it are true .
 
This exception does not apply to Florida Family Law Forms 12.902(f)(1), Marital Settlement Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Child(ren), 12.902(f)(2), Marital Settlement Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage with Property but No Dependent or Minor Child(ren), 12.902(f)(3),Marital Settlement Agreement for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, and any other family law form that transfers the ownership of property, which must continue to be notarized or signed in the presence of a deputy clerk prior to filing.
 
Seminole County Administrative Order 20-15
Written by Joanne Desile, Esq.
According to Administrative Order 20-15, all eviction, ejectment or writs of possession, unlawful detainer cases will be suspended until April 15, 2020 or any other date provided by law.
 
This suspension also applies to initial paperwork for filing the eviction; time periods for service of documents; and scheduling hearings.
 
In addition, the Sheriff and all Process Servers must suspend or stop their attempts to serve Complaints for evictions, Writ of Possession, or any another procedure relating to the initiation or enforcement of an eviction.

Videos Helping Self Represented Filers
Use the E-Portal to Send Documents to Court
Written by Renee Martinez
During this time, you may be finding yourself needing to electronically file documents with the court in a pending action or initiate a new action on your own. The Florida Courts E-Filing Portal allows individuals to access the court system from the safe comfort of their home or office. We would like to provide the following links to videos which provide instructions for e-filing documents by self represented filers. These videos assist in navigating the portal and submitting your paperwork to court.
 
Please click here for a video for individuals looking to file a response or pleading in an existing case.
 
Please click here for a video is for individuals looking to file and initiate a brand new case.
Have You Prepared Your Necessary Legal Documents During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Written by Silvia McLain, Esq.
Governor DeSantis has issued an executive order declaring a public health emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Center for Disease Control recommends community preparedness and everyday prevention measures to be taken by all individuals and families. Residents should make sure their legal affairs are in order in case you may fall seriously ill and unable to manage your financial or health affairs. You should contact your attorney to review your legal affairs including a review of your estate plan and review of important documents such as Durable Power of Attorney, Designation of Health Care Surrogate and Living Will.
 
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document you can use to give someone else the authority to take specific financial action on your behalf. The document remains valid and in effect even if your become incapacitated. Before you provide another person the legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf, you must assure yourself that the person is honest and trustworthy and will protect your best interests.  
 
Designation of Health Care Surrogate is a document designating a person to make health care decisions for you or receive health information for you when you lack capacity. 
 
Living Will is a legal document which directs your end of life desires with regard to your health care. The purpose of this document is to provide you with the opportunity to direct any provisions, the withholding of, or withdrawal of any life-prolonging procedures in the event you should have a terminal condition, or persistent vegetative state or end stage condition. 

Please click here to visit our website for sample forms and other information.
How to File for Workers Benefits
Written by Carolina Hernandez
The ramifications of the coronavirus have affected many individuals in some capacity. While many have been fortunate enough to maintain our positions in the workforce, others have not. If you have been affected by the coronavirus in terms of employment, there are options. To file for workers benefits, please feel free to visit the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's website by clicking here to visit their webpage.
Please note the following updates pertaining to the Reemployment application:

  • The Department of Economic Opportunity has suspended the requirement to provide work search contacts beginning the week of March 15, 2020 through the week ending May 2, 2020.

  • The Department of Economic Opportunity has suspended the requirement to complete the full work registration through Employ Florida for any claims filed with an effective date of March 15, 2020, through the week ending May 2, 2020.

  • Due to COVID-19, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is currently experiencing higher than average wait times when contacting the Reemployment Assistance Program.

Please click here to visit their website to see what the requirements for filing are.
April 1 is Census Day
April 1 is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you will tell the census bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.   The census can shape many different aspects of your community as this short video will explain. Your response matters.
The “CARES Act:” What’s in It?
Coronavirus and, Relief, and Economic Security Act
Summary from Justice in Aging
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act (H.R. 748), a $2 trillion funding package aimed at addressing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Americans. The CARES Act is the third legislative package to date building on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) signed into law on March 18, and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Act (H.R. 6074), signed into law March 6, 2020.
To receive the individual tax rebate/stimulus payment, individuals must file a 2018 or 2019 tax return using social security numbers for themselves and their dependent children.
Resources Available During Coronavirus Pandemic
Written by Carolina Hernandez
Seminole County Government Office of Emergency Management's website has all COVID-19 updates regarding Seminole County. This includes a detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions, Closures, Assistance Programs, Donations/Food Banks, Schools, and more. The lists are updated every day to keep individuals up to date on all changes in Seminole County.

For other additional resources concerning other aspects of the coronavirus (such as food pantries, utility hesitance, etc.) be sure to contact United Way's 2-1-1 helpline by dialing 211 or visiting their website and putting in your zip code to get services provided in your area.
Ideas for Children's Activities
to Utilize During Social Distancing
While continuing to practice social distancing, it can be difficult to maintain daily routines and find positive creative outlets for yourself and your family. There is only so much that can be done from within the home. But thanks to individuals and businesses throughout the world, there are many resources out there to utilize to give you and your family something to do.
While children may be out of school, there are many opportunities for children to still be actively learning in addition to their school work. For example: Virtual field trips are being offered for almost every subject like museums, zoos, historical landmarks, and even other planets! Please click here for a list of available virtual field trips.
Beyond virtual field trips, there are many other options to have fun-filled, productive days with the family, such as:
Some additional resources involving education include:
Seminole County Public Schools
Foundation
Written by Carolina Hernandez
Due to Coronavirus and the need for social distancing, businesses and schools alike are closing to slow spread. During this time, it can be especially difficult to maintain a supply of essentials. With more than 1,000 students in Seminole County being homeless and over 30,000 coming from low-income households, food is a vital supply that can be in short stock, or even unattainable. Seminole County Public Schools is working tirelessly to try to eradicate this problem by providing free breakfast and lunch meals for students during the time of closure. Please click here for locations and more information.

Beyond this, they continue to hold food pantries with donated food items and grocery gift cards, which go straight into the hands of those in our community who most need it. For more information on pick up and ways to donate, please click here v isit their page dedicated to the foundation. We are thankful for all their assistance and thoughtfulness during this time.
Thank you to those on the front lines of this pandemic. We appreciate your dedication, expertise and assistance. 
We appreciate you! 
New Administrative Orders

In Re: Covid-19 Emergency Procedures For The Administering Of Oaths Via Remote Audio-Video Communication Equipment

In Re: Covid-19 Emergency Measures in The Florida State Courts

In Re: Covid-19 Emergency Procedures in Relation to Visitation for Children Under the Protective Supervision of the Department of Children and Families

In Re:  Continuation of Operations Based Upon Covid-19 Concerns
Changes: Highlighted

In Re:  Juvenile COVID-19 Emergency Procedures Juvenile Dependency Visitation Practices
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL FREE 1-800-435-7352, WITHIN THE STATE OR ONLINE AT WWW.FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. OUR REGISTRATION NUMBER IS 1944.