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Florida Bar Character and Fitness Information Resources

Bad Checks

Bad Checks, Question 14d

You can look at old bank statements to see if you were charged for an insufficient funds check or debit. If you have this charge, you wrote a bad check. Having the amount covered by overdraft protection in and of itself does not mean you can automatically answer "no" to the question.

There are several different terms for bad checks. They could be called worthless checks, insufficient funds, NSF, check kiting or bad checks. In Florida, worthless checks can also result in criminal charges. Check your criminal record for any such entries.

Financial Obligations (including student loans)

Financial Obligations, Question 14a

If you answer yes to 14(a), you need to fill out the Financial Affidavit. It can be found on the Florida Board of Bar Examiners website under Supporting Forms.

If you aren’t sure if you were delinquent on a financial obligation, check your credit report. You can access your credit report once per year for free.

Student Loans, Question 14b

Determine who services your student loans. Once you know who owns the loans, you can contact them to see if you were delinquent.  Information can be sought from the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243 and the Federal Student Loan Servicer List

Judgments and Liens

Judgments and Liens, Question 14c

Question subpart 14(c) is where you tell the Board of Bar Examiners about any civil actions where a judgment was entered against you, as well as tax liens against your property.

Submit a complete copy of all judgments entered against you, and all federal or state tax liens placed against your property. Submit a complete copy of any satisfaction or release of each judgment or lien.

If you have any unsatisfied judgments, you will need to submit a Financial Affidavit. The Financial Affidavit can be found on the Florida Board of Bar Examiners site under Conversion Checklists and Supporting Forms.

The Court Clerk can destroy a closed civil file after five years. You may still be able to obtain a copy of the judgment in such cases from the county recorder's office. Judgments and liens also often appear on a credit report.

See the Civil and Family Records tab for more details on finding these types of civil records. If the paper file has been destroyed you can get a certified copy noting the case results and/or docket progress entries from the Clerk, usually referred to as a "Report of Records Search" or "Clerk's Certificate". Courts generally use this record retention schedule (PDF document) at page 106 of Rule 2.430 of the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration.

Your Free Credit Report - from the FTC

Each year, you are entitled to a free credit report. This credit report will contain most information you seek regarding past addresses, financial obligations, and other information that you will find useful in completing your Florida Bar application.

Make sure you are using the United States government Federal Trade Commission website and their partner Annual Credit, an approved method for obtaining your free credit report. Some sites may say "free" but then have hidden costs.

It is a good idea to obtain your credit report in general. Take the time to do it.