FA Divisional Instructions

Important Messages

Zoom Hearing 

  • UMC Hearings
  • Lack of Prosecution hearings
  • Case Management and Status Check
  • Uncontested final hearings for self-represented litigants
  • Contested final hearings for self-represented litigants may continue to be heard via Zoom unless otherwise objected to by the parties.
  • Notice of Contest hearings
  • Post Judgment simple motion hearings for self-represented litigants

Trials and hearings already noticed will not be re-noticed and will be conducted by Zoom, unless the parties agree to in-person proceedings, subject to approval by the Court. Division FA will continue to conduct the following non-essential court proceedings by remote means until further order of the Court.

ATTIRE: ALL LITIGANTS are expected to dress professionally, even if the hearing(s) are conducted by Zoom.

ALL evidence/exhibits should be upload via the E-evidence feature located in the OLS ( Online Services). Exhibits should not be emailed to the Judicial Assistant.

ALL In-person hearings: Physical exhibits must be pre-marked with case number, exhibit number.

ALL NOTICE OF HEARING(S) Must clearly state the title of Motion Hearing being heard by the court. That includes trial and the type of trial.

Proposed Orders: Family Law Division FA – please send all proposed orders and final judgments via OLS the day  before the hearing. Courtesy copies of motions for UMC, special set hearings, memorandums, and case authority shall be printed and sent via US Mail or Carrier five (5) business days before hearing to avoid possible cancellation by the court.

Online Scheduling for UMC hearings:  Click on the link Online Services and follow the directions. Please see the button below.

Online Services

Meeting Link: Zoom Link
Meeting ID: 955 3323 9894
Password: 745814

Problems logging in to video Zoom can call:

Dial by your location:

  • US Toll-free 877-853-5257
  • US Toll-free 888-475-4499

Family Law Forms

Family law forms can be found on the Florida Supreme Court Family Law Forms Website.

Post Judgment and Child Support Matters

  • All post judgment and child support matters are to be referred or assigned to the General Magistrate.
  • Post judgment matters, other than those dealing with child support, require an Order of Referral to Magistrate.  The Order of Referral must include the date of filing, the specific Magistrate assigned, and the hearing room number of the Magistrate listed immediately above the style of the case.
  • Order of Referral to General Magistrates are to be sent directly to the Magistrates for review.   Please review the Magistrates Webpage for the instructions on submitting proposed Orders via OLS.
  • Please see Administrative Order 5.104 regarding Appointment of Magistrates Unified Family Court Cases.
  • Please visit the General Magistrates' page on the court's website for additional information regarding the Magistrates’ instructions, phone numbers and procedures.
  • Order of Referral to General Magistrates are  to be sent directly to the Magistrates for review. Please review the Magistrates Webpage for the instructions on submitting proposed orders via OLS.

Paternity and/or Dissolution Agreements

  • Paternity and/or Dissolution Agreements will need to be set for a final hearing on the UMC Calendar. The court will not adopt Paternity Agreements or Marital Settlement Agreements without the hearing. Both parties are expected to be in attendance.

Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC)

  • Follow the Admin Order 5.201-6/19 when setting your UMC hearings.
  • Tuesday through Thursday, 8:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m., in Courtroom 6D. Scheduling is coordinated  between the parties. The hearings are not scheduled with the Judicial Assistant.
  • Attorneys can appear via Zoom.
  • The Court will only allow a maximum of 3 (three) motions in one given case to be set.
  • No contested evidentiary hearings which includes default final hearings.
  • Uncontested final hearings in dissolution, paternity and name change cases will be heard during UMC.
  • parties must give five days notice to opposing counsel or pro se litigant (unless short notice agreed by parties).
  • Judge Shull will review all motions scheduled for UMC prior to the hearing..
  • DO NOT SET TEMPORARY CUSTODY CASES ON UMC CALENDAR IT IS A SPECIAL SET HEARING.
  • PLEASE UPLOAD THE PROPOSED ORDER(S) THE DAY BEFORE THE UMC HEARING.

If you resolve your motion prior to the hearing date, please notify the Judicial Assistant via email, file notice of cancellation and send agreed order via the OLS ( Online Scheduling)

Uncontested Dissolutions of Marriage

  • Ensure ALL required documents are filed with the Clerk of Courts (Fla. Stat. §§61.052(7), (8); 61.21(4); Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.285(d)(j) before a hearing is scheduled.
  • Confirm notice required by Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.440 and Fla. Stat. §61.19
  • Upload proof of residency Fla. Stat. §61.052(2)
  • PLEASE UPLOAD THE PROPOSED ORDER(S) THE DAY BEFORE THE UMC HEARING.

Domestic Violence Hearings

No Domestic Violence matters may be set on the Uniform Motion Calendar. All motions are to be filed with the Clerk in the Domestic Violence Division. The motion will be forwarded to the Judge for review. The Judicial Assistant cannot cancel or change hearings. For questions regarding domestic violence matters you need to contact the Domestic Violence Division at 561-355-4506.

Special Set Hearings

The Judicial Assistant will special set hearings after the parties have attended a 5 minute status conference set by the parties on the UMC calendar. The parties must upload a proposed form of order as indicated below in the motions section. Hearing times are set in 15 minute increments for a maximum of 30 minutes per case per day. If there is a substantial need for more time the request must be made at a status conference on the UMC. Motions must be e-filed and docketed with the clerk and uploaded to OLS as Exhibit A with the proposed form of order. All motions and responses will need to be uploaded as attachments to the proposed form of order 24 hours prior to the hearing for the Judge to review, not emailed. The party requesting a hearing must confirm availability and confer before setting the conference with the opposing party. Please do not call the judicial assistant. If the hearing is evidentiary, please indicate the same on the proposed Order on Special Set Hearing and cite to case authority, statute and/or rule. Parties may provide courtesy copies of their special set motions, memoranda of law and supporting case law to the Court five (5) five business days before the hearing via US Mail and designate the date and time of the hearing. Parties should highlight or otherwise mark the key language in the most pertinent and important cases and key exhibits for the court and opposing counsel. The Court allows virtual hearings whenever possible, however, this will require the highest level of professionalism and cooperation between opposing counsel and parties. No less than five days prior to each hearing, the parties must exchange all proposed exhibits, which they intend to reference during the hearing. Each proposed exhibit must be pre-marked for identification and uploaded on the e-portal. Please indicate that the parties have complied with Local Rule 4 and the date the parties last attended mediation.

Special set hearings cannot be cancelled except by further order of the Court. Orders must be uploaded through OLS specifically stating good cause for the cancellation in the proposed form of order.

Evidentiary Hearings

The Court intends to handle evidentiary hearings by video whenever possible, however, this will require the highest level of professionalism and cooperation between opposing counsel and parties.  No less than five days prior to each hearing, the parties must exchange all proposed exhibits which they intend to reference during the hearing. Each proposed exhibit must be pre-marked for identification to identify the exhibits numerically.

Temporary Relief Hearings

  • Mediation ON THE TEMPORARY RELIEF SOUGHT (following the filing of the motion for temporary relief) must be held before a temporary relief hearing will be scheduled Administrative Order 5.207.
  • Following mediation, if parties are unable to reach an agreement, temporary relief hearings may be set via the Division FA online calendar.
  • Hearings are limited to a total of thirty (30) minutes. Administrative Order 5.207 unless permission granted by the Court.
  • Follow instructions for Special Set Hearings
  • Notice of Unavailability are required to be filed on all cases.
  • If more time is needed, please email the JA  and the court will consider the additional the request.

Emergency Motions

Motions for Emergency Hearing should be filed with the Clerk's e-portal and then click the Emergency Filing box that states, "Check This Box to Specify That This is an Emergency Filing." Judge Shull will review the Emergency Motion and email any Order(s) on the Emergency Motion to all counsel of record. Please do not call the Judicial Assistant to bypass this process.

Post Judgment Matters

Modifications, Motions for Contempt and/or Enforcement of Final Judgment.

All post judgment modifications, motions for contempt and/or enforcement of final judgment MUST be referred to the Magistrate per AO. The attorneys/parties are responsible for providing the Order of Referral to Magistrate. (EXCEPT that all child support post-judgment matters must be heard by the Magistrate - Do not do an Order of Referral for post-judgment child support matters). See Administrative Order 5.104, Fla. R. Fam. P. 12.490 and Fla. R. Fam. P. 12.491.

Effective immediately: On all Orders of Referral to a General Magistrate, please enter the appropriate Magistrate's hearing room number, under the case number. Each Order of Referral may only refer one matter per Order of Referral. Therefore, if you have three motions, I will need three separate Order of Referral per motion.

Post judgment matters shall be referred to the Magistrates, as follows:

  • Magistrate Maxine Williams: All Post Judgment Matters
  • Attorney or pro se litigant should send the proper 15th Judicial Circuit Order of Referral to the Magistrate.
  • Attorney or pro se litigant may file an objection to the referral
  • After an Order Sustaining Objection is docketed, Attorney should set the hearing via the Division FA online calendar (Administrative Order 5.206) and send the Order Specially Setting Hearing in Word format to CAD-DivisionFA@pbcgov.org with a copy of the pleading and the order sustaining the objection to the judge's office.

Notice/Motion to Set Cause For Trial

  • Original notice/motion to set cause for trial is filed with Clerk's office
  • Please adhere to all instructions in Administrative Order 5.209
  • Judge must receive a courtesy copy of the notice for trial and copies of all current Notice of Unavailability for both sides.
  • In cases where one side is represented by an attorney and the other side is pro se, the notice shall contain the e-mail address for the attorney and the physical street address for the pro se party. Submit the notice with a self-addressed stamped envelope stapled to the Notice for Trial for the pro se, and the trial order will be served via judicial e-service to the attorney and by U.S. Mail to the pro se party
  • Notices must include specific motion or petition/counter petition to be tried and the estimate of time necessary for trial.
  • The original notice must be filed with the Clerk. A courtesy copy should be emailed to CAD-DivisionFA@pbcgov.org. Trial Orders are served via email to all parties registered for e-service.
  • Notice of Unavailability are required to be filed on all cases.

Service and Preparation of Judgments And Orders

  • FINAL JUDGMENTS and Orders will be e-filed to all parties or mailed if there are pro se litigants or attorneys without e-service.
  • Administrative Order 5.204 requires that some portion of text of the Order be included on signature page.
  • All Final Judgments must have a 3X3 inch space on the top-right-hand corner for recording purposes.  The Clerk will not docket or record the Final Judgment without this space.
  • Proposed Final Judgments and/or Orders should be submitted via the OLS ( Online Scheduling), in Word format and PDF format for Attachments, within five (5) days following the hearing, if not before the hearing.
  • Proposed order should always  specify the date of the hearing.

Adoptions 

  • All adoption  statutory requirements must be met before a final hearing will be set. Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) Final Hearing requests must be put in writing to the Judge and are set by the Judicial Assistant once all requirements have been met
  • Staff Attorneys review all adoptions  (No hearings will be set until reviewed by Staff Attorney)
  • A status order from the Court may be issued to the parties
  • Following all requirements being met by the parties, the Judicial Assistant will contact the attorney/party(ies) to schedule a final hearing
  •  If you have any questions regarding your adoption case, send an e-mail to: centraladoptions@pbcgov.org

Court Interpreters

Interpreters will use a headset system where the interpreter will interpret in real time so as not to impede the proceedings by stopping and waiting for the interpretor.

Self-Represented Parties (Pro Se)

If you are a self-represented litigant and wish to request a final hearing, you must first file a proper "Notice for Trial” or a Request for Final Hearing in your case. The Self-help service center 561-355-2962 on the first floor of the Main courthouse may assist you with the forms. Once the Notice for trial or request for final hearing has been filed your case will then be reviewed by the Court to ensure all requirements for a final hearing have been met. If your case is ready for a final hearing, you will receive an “Order Setting Final Hearing” via mail/email (if you have designated one). For a list of required documentation in each case, you may wish to visit the Florida Court’s Website or any of the Self Help Centers at the Courthouse locations.

If you wish to schedule a hearing on a Motion, you must first file the Motion in your case with proper notice to all parties. The Court will review your Motion and if deemed appropriate, will schedule a hearing in your case. If so, you will receive an Order with the hearing date and time.

Please note the Family Case Managers provide procedural assistance to the self-represented litigants. However, they cannot provide any legal advice. Please do not call the case managers to share any facts or details about your case or to schedule, reschedule or cancel a hearing or other court events. The case managers do not have any authority to make decisions in your case. Any request from the Court must be in form of filing a proper motion with proper notice to all parties to avoid ex-parte communication.

Please note the Court does not act on letters, notes, or emails sent by either party. The Court acts on petitions or motions properly filed with the Clerk of the Court. File the appropriate petition or motion with the Clerk of the Court, and send a copy to the opposing side.