CLERK OF COURT & COMPTROLLER
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA
The Hillsborough County Health, Education and Life Planning (HELP) and Domestic Partnership Registry (DPR) allow you to select a surrogate to make critical decisions for you when you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to make them yourself. These include decisions on visitation in hospitals or correctional facilities, emergency notification, health care and burial decisions and education decisions for dependent children.
Under the Ordinance, you designate a surrogate in an affidavit, which you can download from our site. You can find the link below. You then have the option of filing the form with the Clerk’s office. This helps ensure your choice is honored countywide.
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The registry provides two options.
The first is for people who want to select a relative or perhaps an acquaintance to serve as a surrogate, who is referred to as their “support person.“ For example, two senior citizens who don’t have nearby family members may want to designate each other as support persons. The HELP Affidavit allows them to specify what rights and powers they want to assign each other.
The second option is for unmarried couples, either same-sex or heterosexual, who are in a committed relationship and share a mutual residence. They can fill out a Domestic Partnership Registration Affidavit. This form automatically grants each partner a number of rights including visitation in hospitals or correctional facilities, emergency notification, health care and burial decisions, and education decisions for dependent children.
The Health, Education and Life Planning (HELP) Affidavit is available on the Clerk's website and in the Clerk's offices. Registrations will be accepted during normal business hours.
The Clerk of the Court has set the registration fee at $50.00 which must be submitted at the time of registration. Completed, notarized Health, Education, and Life Planning (HELP) affidavits can be mailed, along with the registration fee, to Clerk of the Circuit Court Attn: Official Records, P.O. Box 3249, Tampa, FL 33601. Registration can also be completed in person at one of the above locations by both partners with proof of identification and two witnesses. Additional notary fees will apply.
There are two affidavits you can download from the Hillsborough County Clerk’s website. Choose the one that is right for you. The filing fee for either form is $50.00.
Option#1 is the HELP affidavit. It is designed mainly for relatives or acquaintances. This affidavit allows you to specify which powers you want to grant your surrogate, known as your “support person.’’ For example, you may want to give him the power to make medical decisions for you, but not the power to make education decisions for your children.
Option #2 is the Domestic Partnership affidavit. This is for unmarried couples who are in a committed relationship, share a residence and are financially co-dependent. It automatically grants an array of rights, including hospital and correctional facility visitation, medical decisions, burial decisions, and education decisions for dependent children.
Instructions on how to fill out the forms and register them are on the Hillsborough County Clerk’s website.
See HELP Fees for more information.
A Registered Domestic Partnership means the entity formed by two persons who have met the criteria listed in Hillsborough County Ordinance No. 14-32 and filed an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership with the Clerk. The requirements are as follows:
The declaration of registered domestic partnership is required to be signed by both domestic partners under the pains and penalties of perjury, signed by two (2) witnesses and notarized. The Clerk of the Court has set the registration fee at $50.00 which must be submitted at the time of registration.
Completed, notarized Domestic Partner affidavits can be mailed, along with the registration fee, to Clerk of the Circuit Court Attn: Official Records, P.O. Box 3249, Tampa, FL 33601. Registration can also be completed in person at one of the above locations by both partners with proof of identification and two witnesses. Additional notary fees will apply.
Upon registration with the Clerk, each person will receive a Domestic Partnership Card reflecting the registration of the domestic partnership in the County. Such Card will include the assigned DPR Registration number.
To the extent not superseded by federal, state or other county law or ordinance, and to the extent not contrary to rights conferred by contract or separate legal instrument, a Designating Person who has designated a Support Person in accordance with this Section below, shall be deemed to have conferred upon the Support Person the following rights with respect to the Designating Person, unless the Designating Person indicates otherwise under Health Care Decisions, below:
Health Care Facility Visitation.
1. All Health Care Facilities operating within Hillsborough County, Florida shall allow the Support Person visitation as provided under federal law.
2. All Health Care Facilities operating within Hillsborough County, Florida shall also allow visitation as provided under federal law to dependents of those Support Persons who are also Registered Domestic Partners.
Health Care Decisions. This Section pertains to decisions concerning both physical and mental health. A Designating Person's designation of a Support Person shall be considered written direction by the Designating Person designating the Support Person to make health care decisions for the incapacitated Designating Person, and is sufficient to recognize the Support Person as the Designating Person's health care surrogate as provided in Chapter 765, Florida Statutes, and otherwise as provided by federal law. Further, no Support Person designated as a health care surrogate shall be denied or otherwise defeated in serving as a health care surrogate based solely upon his or her status as a Support Person of the Designated Person on whose behalf health care decisions are to be made. Any statutory form, including but not limited to, a living will or health care surrogate designation in the form prescribed by Chapter 765, Florida Statutes, that is properly executed after the date of registration which contains conflicting designations shall control over the designations by virtue of the registration.
Funeral/Burial Decisions. A Designating Person's designation of a Support Person under the Ordinance shall be considered to be the written inter vivos authorization and direction to have his or her Support Person direct the disposition of the Designating Person's body for funeral and burial purposes as provided in Chapters 406, 497 and 732, Florida Statutes, unless the Designating Person had otherwise provided conflicting written inter vivos authorization and directions that are dated after the date of the designation by the Designating Person of the Support Person pursuant to the Ordinance, in which case the later dated authorization and direction shall control.
Correctional Facility Visitation Rights.
1. Any Support Person designated by a Designating Person under the Ordinance shall be entitled to visit the Designating Person, if the Designating Person is an inmate of a correctional facility located within Hillsborough County, Florida, upon the same terms and conditions under which visitation is afforded to any person.
2. Support Persons and Designating Persons who are also Registered Domestic Partners will also be entitled to visit or be visited by family members of the Support Person or Designating Person upon the same terms and conditions under which visitation is afforded to any person.
Emergency Notification. In any situation providing for mandatory or permissible notification of family members, including but not limited to notification of family members in an emergency, or when permission is granted to correctional facility inmates to contact family members, “notification of family” shall include Support Persons, so long as adequate contact information for the Support Person is provided by the Designating Person.
Pre-need Guardian Designation. The person who has been designated as a Support Person pursuant to the Ordinance shall have the same right as any other individual to be designated as a Preneed Guardian pursuant to Chapter 744, Florida Statutes, and to serve in such capacity in the event of the Designating Person's incapacity. A Support Person shall not be denied or otherwise be defeated in serving as the plenary guardian of the Designating Person or the Designating Person’s property under the provisions of Chapter 744, Florida Statutes, to the extent that the incapacitated Designating Person has not executed a valid preneed guardian designation, based solely upon his or her status as the Support Person of the incapacitated Designated Person.
Participation in Education. To the extent allowed by and in a manner consistent with federal and state law and any applicable court orders, valid agreements or contracts, a Support Person as defined by the Ordinance shall have the right to participate in the education of a minor child or children who are the dependents of the Designating Person in all educational facilities located within or under the jurisdiction of Hillsborough County, Florida. Any right to participate in the education of a dependent of a Designating Person shall be exercised consistent with applicable policies and procedures of the Hillsborough County School District.
Consistent with the Florida Public Records Law, Section 119.01, et. seq., Florida Statutes, all records received pursuant to this Section are public records unless otherwise exempted by law. If you believe that you are entitled to an exemption as to these records, it is your obligation to request the maintenance of such exemption in writing from the Clerk. A Confidentiality Request Form for this purpose is available from the Clerk upon request or on the Clerk’s website. Only that information to which an applicant is clearly entitled to an exemption can be withheld from the public record.
Yes, you can file an Amendment of Domestic Partnership with the Clerk to update your registration to reflect a change in a legal name change of a domestic partner or to update the list of dependents of the domestic partnership. A $25 fee must be submitted at the time of filing an Amendment.
Married residents are not eligible for the Domestic Partnership Registry but are eligible for the HELP Registry.
The Hillsborough County Domestic Partnership Registry was established to provide benefits for unmarried residents. Unmarried residents who are registered in Domestic Partnership Registry and decide to marry in the future should file a notice of Domestic Partnership termination in the registry at the time of marriage.
The Hillsborough County HELP Registry, for designating who will make decisions for you in the event that you cannot make them for yourself, is available for all residents.
There are two affidavits you can download from the Hillsborough County Clerk’s website. Choose the one that is right for you. The filing fee for either form is $50.
Option#1 is the HELP Affidavit. It is designed mainly for relatives or acquaintances. This affidavit allows you to specify which powers you want to grant your surrogate, known as your “support person.’’ For example, you may want to give him the power to make medical decisions for you, but not the power to make education decisions for your children.
Option #2 is the Domestic Partnership Affidavit. This is for people who are in a committed relationship, share a residence and are financially codependent. It automatically grants an array of rights, including hospital visitation, medical decisions, burial decisions, and education decisions for a child. Instructions on how to fill out the forms and register them are on the Hillsborough County Clerk’s website.
As far as rights granted, there is little difference. The county registry provides visitation rights in Hillsborough County correctional facilities. The city’s registry is now recognized countywide, so if you sign up with the city’s domestic partnership registry, your rights are guaranteed anywhere in Hillsborough County. However, the City's domestic partnership registration cannot be transferred into the County's registry. Therefore, your registration may not be easily located and verified in the event of an emergency. There is an opportunity for individuals currently registered with the City of Tampa registry to transfer to the county registry.
The Hillsborough County registry allows you to download the appropriate form from the county Clerk’s website and mail in the witnessed and notarized form for a recording fee of $50. Registrants will receive wallet cards identifying them as members of the Hillsborough County Domestic Partnership Registry.
For those who are already registered with the City, the Clerk will allow you to register with the County and will waive the $50 fee if the documents are received by May 15, 2015.
See Domestic Partnership Registry Fees for more information.