July 14, 2020
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HB 7161

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to court-appointed counsel in civil cases;
3amending s. 57.082, F.S.; clarifying proceedings in which
4a party may qualify for court-appointed counsel; revising
5provisions relating to the payment of an application fee
6by a person eligible for court-appointed counsel; amending
7s. 39.0134, F.S.; revising a cross-reference relating to
8enforcement of liens for court-ordered payment of
9attorney's fees and costs; specifying circumstances under
10which a parent receiving assistance of appointed counsel
11shall be liable for payment of an application fee and
12attorney's fees and costs; providing for payment of such
13fees and costs; providing for deposit and disposition of
14fee proceeds; providing an effective date.
16Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
18     Section 1.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) and subsection
19(5) of section 57.082, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
20     57.082  Determination of civil indigent status.-
21     (1)  APPLICATION TO THE CLERK.-A person seeking appointment
22of an attorney in a civil case eligible for court-appointed
23counsel, or seeking relief from payment of filing fees and
24prepayment of costs under s. 57.081, based upon an inability to
25pay must apply to the clerk of the court for a determination of
26civil indigent status using an application form developed by the
27Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation with final
28approval by the Supreme Court.
29     (d)  A person who seeks appointment of an attorney in a
30case under chapter 39 proceeding, at shelter or during the
31adjudicatory process, during the judicial review process, upon
32the filing of a termination of parental rights petition, or upon
33the filing of any appeal, or if an appointed attorney is
34requested in a reopened proceeding, at the trial or appellate
35level, for which an indigent person is eligible for court-
36appointed representation, shall pay a $50 application fee to the
37clerk for each application filed. The applicant shall pay the
38fee within 7 days after submitting the application. If the fee
39is not paid within 7 days, the court shall enter an order
40requiring payment and the clerk shall pursue collection under s.
4128.246. The clerk shall transfer monthly all application fees
42collected under this paragraph to the Department of Revenue for
43deposit into the Indigent Civil Defense Trust Fund, to be used
44as appropriated by the Legislature. The clerk may retain 10
45percent of application fees collected monthly for administrative
46costs prior to remitting the remainder to the Department of
47Revenue. A person found to be indigent may not be refused
48counsel. If the person cannot pay the application fee, the clerk
49shall enroll the person in a payment plan pursuant to s. 28.246.
50     (5)  APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL.-In appointing counsel after a
51determination that a person is indigent under this section, the
52court shall order that any applicable application fee be paid by
53each person requesting appointment of counsel and first appoint
54the office of criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, as
55provided in s. 27.511, unless specific provision is made in law
56for the appointment of the public defender in the particular
57civil proceeding.
58     Section 2.  Section 39.0134, Florida Statutes, is amended
59to read:
60     39.0134  Appointed counsel; compensation.-If counsel is
61entitled to receive compensation for representation pursuant to
62a court appointment in a dependency proceeding or a termination
63of parental rights proceeding pursuant to this chapter,
64compensation shall be paid in accordance with s. 27.5304. The
65state may acquire and enforce a lien upon court-ordered payment
66of attorney's fees and costs in accordance with s. 938.29(2)
68     (1)  A parent whose child is dependent, whether or not
69adjudication was withheld, or whose parental rights are
70terminated, and who has received the assistance of the office of
71criminal conflict and civil regional counsel or any other court-
72appointed counsel or has received due process services after
73being found indigent for costs under s. 57.082 shall be liable
74for payment of the assessed application fee under s. 57.082,
75together with reasonable attorney's fees and costs as determined
76by the court.
77     (2)  If reasonable attorney's fees or costs are assessed,
78payment of the fees or costs may be made part of any case plan
79in dependency proceedings at the court's discretion; however, no
80case plan may remain open for the sole issue of payment of
81attorney's fees or costs. At the court's discretion, a lien upon
82court-ordered payment of attorney's fees and costs may be
83ordered by the court in accordance with s. 938.29(2).
84     (3)  The clerk of the court shall transfer all attorney's
85fees and costs collected under this section monthly to the
86Department of Revenue for deposit in the Indigent Civil Defense
87Trust Fund, subject to legislative appropriations and consistent
88with s. 27.5111.
89     Section 3.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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