CLERK OF COURT & COMPTROLLER

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA

HELP and Domestic Partnership Registry

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.

NOTE: In each of Florida’s 67 counties, marriage licenses are issued by the Clerk of the Court. Click here for marriage license information.

Health, Education, and Life Planning (HELP) FAQs

What are my options for obtaining customer service from the Clerk's office?

Mail:  P.O. Box 3249, Tampa, FL 33601-3249
Email:  Contact us
Phone:  813-276-8100
In person:  Downtown Tampa, Plant City, Brandon, Ruskin (Southshore). See wait times.
                 

How does the registry work?

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.

HELP and Domestic Partnership Registry Listings 
Search HELP and DPR records.

What is the purpose of the HELP Registry?

If you are married, your spouse would probably take over as decision maker if you were incapacitated. But who would fill that role if you are not married? The Hillsborough County HELP Registry is designed to allow you to identify a surrogate to make decisions for you when you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to make them yourself.  These include decisions regarding visitation in hospitals or correctional facilities, emergency notification, health care and burial decisions, and education decisions for your dependent child or children.

Where and how do I register?

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.

What is the difference between the two HELP affidavits?

Both HELP affidavits allow you to specify which powers you want to grant to your support person.  The two party affidavit should be used when two people want to designate each other the same rights.

What will we receive showing that we have registered?

Upon registration with the Clerk, each person will receive a Health, Education and Life Planning (HELP) Card reflecting the HELP registration in the County. The Card will include the assigned HELP Registration number.

How does it work?

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.

Will other people be able to see my affidavit on the Clerk's website?

Yes. If they search the Clerk’s data base, all forms filed with the Clerk’s Office are public records.

What is the benefit of filing the affidavit with the Clerk?

One reason is safe keeping. This also allows hospitals or other facilities or agencies to look it up in an emergency situation.

Do I have to put my address or phone number on the affidavit?

No. But if you do not, it may hinder the ability of emergency workers or medical facilities to notify you. We recommend that if emergency notification is important to you, register your emergency contact information with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. That data is kept confidential.

Can domestic partners use the HELP Affidavit instead of the Domestic Partner form?

Yes. If they want to specify which powers and rights they wish to grant each other, the HELP affidavit is a viable option.

What if I am married or contemplate marriage?

The Hillsborough County Domestic Partnership registry was established to provide benefits for unmarried citizens, equivalent to some benefits that are available to married citizens.   This registry cannot be used by married citizens. Unmarried citizens who are currently registered in the Domestic Partnership registry and elect marriage in the future should file a notice of Domestic Partnership termination in the registry at the time of marriage. The Hillsborough County HELP registry is available for unmarried and married citizens.

What if I want to rescind the affidavit?

You can file a form terminating the affidavit. That also can be found on the Clerk’s website.

What are the fees and fines associated with this service?

See HELP Fees for more information.

 

Domestic Partnership FAQs

What are my options for obtaining customer service from the Clerk's office?

Mail:  P.O. Box 3249, Tampa, FL 33601-3249
Email:  Contact us
Phone  (813) 276-8100
In person: Downtown Tampa, Plant CityBrandon, Ruskin (Southshore). See wait times
               

What is Domestic Partnership?

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:

  • Each person is at least eighteen (18) years of age and competent to contract;
  • Neither person is married, nor is a partner in a domestic partnership relationship or a member of a civil union with anyone other than the co-applicant;
  • They are not related by blood as defined in Florida Law;
  • Each person considers himself or herself to be a member of the immediate family of the co-applicant and jointly responsible for the maintenance and support of the domestic partnership;
  • Applicants reside together in a mutual residence;
  • Each person declares the co-applicant to act as his/her healthcare surrogate as provided in Chapter 765, Florida Statutes and, if determined incompetent, to act as their preneed guardian pursuant to Chapter 744, Florida Statutes and
  • Each person declares the co-applicant as his/her agent to direct the disposition of their body after death;
  • Each person agrees to be jointly responsible for each other’s basic food and shelter;
  • Each person agrees to immediately notify the Clerk’s Office, in writing by filing an Affidavit of Termination, if the terms of the Registered Domestic Partnership are no longer applicable or if one of the domestic partners wishes to terminate the domestic partnership.

Where and how do I register?

 The Domestic Partnership Registration Affidavit is available on the Clerk's website and in the Clerk's offices.  Registrations will be accepted during normal business hours.

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.

What will we receive showing that we have registered?

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.

What happens if I am currently registered with the City's Domestic Partnership Registry and do not re-register with the County?

Your current City DPR registration remains valid.  However, you will not be listed in the countywide Domestic Partnership Registry or be part of the new online countywide DPR database.  The County Registry is easier for healthcare facilities and others to locate and verify information.

What are the rights and legal effect of registered domestic partnership?

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.

Is my Affidavit of Domestic Partnership, or other documents filed related thereto, a public record once filed with the Clerk of Court?

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.

Can I amend my registration if a name or dependent changes after the initial registration Affidavit is filed?

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.

What happens if my domestic partner and I break up or our partnership ends?

One or both partners must sign and submit an Affidavit of Termination of Domestic Partnership to the Clerk upon voluntary termination of the partnership. Additionally, under the Hillsborough County Code a domestic partnership will terminate by operation of law upon the occurrence of certain events. However, even with the occurrence of an event resulting in automatic termination, it is a domestic partner’s obligation to file an Affidavit of Termination with the Clerk within 10 days of the occurrence. The partner filing an Affidavit of Termination shall provide a copy of the termination to the former domestic partner at their last known address. There is no fee for the filing of an Affidavit of Termination.

What if I am married or decide to get married after I register?

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.


How does it work?

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.

What is the benefit of filing the affidavit with the Clerk?

One reason is safe keeping. This also allows hospitals or other facilities or agencies to look it up in an emergency situation.

Do I have to put my address or phone number on the affidavit?

No. But if you do not, it may hinder the ability of emergency workers or medical facilities to notify you. We recommend that if emergency notification is important to you, register your emergency contact information with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. That data is kept confidential.

Can domestic partners use the HELP Affidavit instead of the Domestic Partnership form?

Yes. If they want to specify which powers and rights they wish to grant each other, the HELP Affidavit is a viable option.

What is the difference between the city of Tampa's Domestic Partner Registry and the Hillsborough County Domestic Partner Registry?

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.

What if I want to rescind the affidavit?

You can file a form terminating the affidavit. That also can be found on the Clerk’s website.

What are the fees and fines associated with this service?

See Domestic Partnership Registry Fees for more information.