Rule 5.040. Notice

(a) Formal Notice.

(1) Procedure for Formal Notice. When formal notice is given, a copy of the pleading or motion shall be served on interested persons, together witha notice requiring the person served to serve written defenses on the person giving notice within 20 days after service of the notice, exclusive of the day of service, and to file the original of the written defenses with the clerk of the court either before service or immediately thereafter, and notifying the person served that failure to serve written defenses as required may result in a judgment or order for the relief demanded in the pleading or motion, without further notice.

(2) Effect of Service of Formal Notice. After service of formal notice, informal notice of any hearing on the pleading or motion shall be served on interested persons, provided that if no written defense is served within 20 days after service of formal notice on an interested person, the pleading or motion may be considered ex parte as to that person, unless the court orders otherwise.

(3) Manner of Service of Formal Notice. Formal notice shall be served in the following manner:

(A) by sending a copy by any commercial delivery service requiring a signed receipt or by any form of mail requiring a signed receipt;
(B) as provided in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure for service of process;
(C) as otherwise provided by Florida law for service of process; or
(D) by first-class mail when only in rem or quasi in rem relief is sought against a person if:

(i) registered or certified mail service to the addressee requiring a signed receipt is unavailable and if delivery by commercial delivery service requiring a signed receipt is also unavailable; 
(ii) delivery pursuant to subdivision (a)(3)(A) is attempted and is refused by the addressee; or
(iii) delivery pursuant to subdivision (a)(3)(A) is attempted and is unclaimed after notice to the addressee by the delivering entity.

(4) Persons to be Served. Service of formal notice under (a)(3)(A) and (a)(3)(D) shall be made on the following:

(A) service on an interested person represented by an attorney shall be made by delivery to the attorney at his or her regular place of business; 
(B) service on an interested person who has filed a request for notice shall be made by delivery to such interested person at the address given in the request for notice;
(C) service on an incapacitated person or a person with a developmental disability shall be made by delivery:

(i) to such person at his or her usual place of abode; and
(ii) to such person’s legal guardian at the legal guardian’s usual place of abode or regular place of business or, if such person does not have a legal guardian, to the person having care or custody of such person at his or her usual place of abode or regular place of business;

(D) service on a minor whose disabilities of nonage are not removed shall be made by delivery to the persons designated to accept service of process on a minor under chapter 48, Florida Statutes, at their usual place of abode or regular place of business;
(E) service on any other individual shall be made by delivery to such individual at his or her usual place of abode or to any person authorized to receive service of a summons on behalf of the individual as provided in chapter 48, Florida Statutes; or
(F) service on a corporation or other business entity shall be made by delivery to such corporation or other business entity as provided in chapter 48, Florida Statutes. 

(5) Completion of Service. Service of formal notice pursuant to subdivision (a)(3)(A) shall be complete upon receipt by the person to whom delivery is made. Service of formal notice pursuant to subdivision (a)(3)(B) shall be complete as provided in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure for service of process. Service of formal notice pursuant to subdivision (a)(3)(C) shall be complete as provided by Florida law for service of process. Service of formal notice pursuant to subdivision (a)(3)(D) shall be complete upon mailing. 

(6) Proof of Service. Proof of service shall be by verified statement of the person serving formal notice and there shall be attached to the verified statement the receipt signed by the person to whom delivery was made or other evidence satisfactory to the court that delivery was made. Alternatively, if service is obtained pursuant to subdivision (a)(3)(D), the verified statement must state the basis for service by first-class mail, the date of mailing, and the address to which the first-class mail was sent. Proof of service pursuant to subdivisions (a)(3)(B) or (a)(3)(C) shall be made as provided by Florida law for service of process.

(b) Informal Notice. When informal notice of a petition or other proceeding is required or permitted, it shall be served as provided in rule 5.041.

(c) “Notice” Defined. In these rules, the Florida Probate Code, and the Florida Guardianship Law “notice” shall mean informal notice unless formal notice is specified.

(d) Formal Notice Optional. Formal notice may be given in lieu of informal notice at the option of the person giving notice unless the court orders otherwise. When formal notice is given in lieu of informal notice, formal notice shall be given to all interested persons entitled to notice. When formal notice is given in lieu of informal notice, that notice does not modify any time period otherwise specified by statute or these rules.

(e) In the Manner Provided for Service of Formal Notice. If a document is served in the manner provided for service of formal notice, service is completed on receipt of the document, and proof of service shall be in the manner set forth in subdivision (a)(6).