As of January 1, 2014, Electronic Filing (eFiling) of court cases in District and County Courts is now mandatory for some of the top counties in Texas. You might be curious how this mandate will affect you and your organization. Though the road to a completed eFiling system will be (and has been) bumpy for all parties involved, it will streamline the process of filing cases in the end.
The following are suggestions to lessen the eFiling headache and get you through the process successfully:
- Select an EFSP that best meets your needs:Â To make sure your eFiling is done correctly and efficiently, acquire an Electronic File Service Provider, or EFSP. An EFSP is an intermediary for you and the courts. Depending on your organizationâ€™s needs and budget, a multiservice EFSP will help you convert your documents into text-searchable PDFâ€™s, customize your invoices and track your documentâ€™s progress.Â An EFSP will maintain current knowledge of what courts accept eFiling and which require eFiling as well as the fees each court charges.Â Click here to view the EFSP comparison table provided by eFileTexas.gov.
- Know the eFiling fees:Â Be aware of the fees for the court you are eFiling in. These fees are different from the charges of traditional filing and will often times be a higher cost to you.The fees associated with eFiling are:
- Standard Court Filing Fees: This fee will vary among each individual court. To find out how much the standard court fee is you will have to contact that particular court.
- Cost-Recovery Court Filing Fee: Some courts charge a $2 fee to â€œrecoverâ€ costs of developing electronic processes. Here is a chart that shows which courts charge this recovery fee.
- Service Provider Fee: Depending on the EFSP you choose, you will need to add in their cost for eFiling or other services. This fee will vary depending on which EFSP you choose.
- Convenience Fees: This fee is to cover the credit card processing fee incurred by the court. This fee can vary among courts. Note that not every court accepts all credit cards, so if you are used to pulling out your company American Express, THINK AGAIN.
- Copy Fees: The â€œhiddenâ€ charge. This fee is for printing out the file-marked petition that is attached to the citation. Courts may charge .25 to $1 per page. To find out how much a court charges for copy fees you will have to contact that particular court
- Donâ€™t Get Rejected. Know Your Courtâ€™s eFiling Requirements: Until they make all courts standardized by law, each court will have different eFiling requirements, and no leniency. You will have to research the court you want to eFile with to understand its individual demands. Some conditions may include tasks like attaching a â€œCitation Service Request Formâ€ for Bexar County or type in all caps for Dallas County. Other courts demand tedious protocol like numbered pages on petitions for Dallas District Courts. Even filing documents in the correct category will differ between courts. If you do not follow the submission rules or miss something as seemingly unimportant as filling the form in all caps, your documents could get rejected, wasting time and money.
- Ensure eFiling Success – Hire a Reputable Process Serving Company to File Your Cases For You!Â Instead of trying to figure out all of the requirements, fees for each court or choosing the right EFSP, have an advanced process serving company do all of it for you. They will have the knowledge and will be aware of all eFiling protocol for Texas courts. An experienced process serving company has been working with the courts for years and is familiar with the tricks and resources to ensure successful document submission.
Donâ€™t worry youâ€™re not alone. All this new, mandatory eFiling stuff is confusing. Use these tips to help you get your cases filed properly and without delay. Remember, the best way to be sure your eFiling is done correctly and on time is to acquire a process serving company to take it off your hands. A valuable process server will be well informed and let you get back to what you do best.