FC Divisional Instructions

Family Law Division "FC"

E-mail address is CAD-DivisionFC@pbcgov.org

Online Scheduling is available for Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC)
and SPECIAL SET HEARINGS in Family Division "FC"

Prior to first use, users must create an account in the Court's Online Services (current users can use their existing account.)

**Family Division "FC" is now participating in On-Line Scheduling for Special Set Hearings thirty (30) minutes or less, E-filing, and E-mail Service. The following email address should be used for e-mail service to the Court: CAD-DivisionFC@pbcgov.org.

**SPECIAL SET HEARINGS ONE (1) HOUR OR LONGER WILL CONTINUE TO BE SET BY THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT.**

You may upload your Notice of Hearing, Order Specially Setting Hearing, Motions, and Additional Attachments for the Court's review prior to the scheduled hearing through the on-line scheduling.  The court can only print documents that are ten (10) pages or less.  Any documents over the ten (10) page limit will have to be mailed to the court for review.  **PLEASE DO NOT UPLOAD ORDERS.  PLEASE BRING ALL PROPOSED ORDERS TO THE COURT HEARING FOR THE JUDGE'S SIGNATURE.**  If you would like a conformed copy of the order please bring additional orders.

**ALL ORDERS MUST BE RECEIVED IN "WORD FORMAT" IN ORDER FOR THE COURT TO ELECTRONICALLY SIGN**

-All orders must state a mailing address and e-mail address for each party being served and that have registered e-mail addresses with the Clerk of Court.

-IF THE OPPOSING SIDE IS AN E-MAIL EXCUSED ATTORNEY OR A PRO SE party (unless pro se party has agreed to e-mail service) DO NOT SEND YOUR ORDER BY E-MAIL.  A hard copy of the proposed order must be provided to the Court with sufficient self-addressed stamped envelopes provided to the Court for service.

Uniform Motion Calendar Hearings (UMC) are now scheduled On-Line

Tuesday through Thursday, 8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., in Courtroom 6B. Scheduling is between the parties or pro se litigant. All UMC hearings are now scheduled online. You can check Judge Francis' Suspension Calendar. Parties will be heard on a first come, first serve basis.

Fifteen (15) minutes allotted

No contested evidentiary hearings which includes default final hearings.

Uncontested final hearings in dissolution, paternity, name change and temporary custody cases will be heard during UMC.

Coordinated with opposing counsel or pro se litigant (UMC Hearings are scheduled online, and do not need to be scheduled with the Judicial Assistant).

With five (5) business days notice to opposing counsel or pro se litigant (unless short notice agreed by parties).

Judge Francis will review all motions scheduled for UMC prior to the hearing date.

Pro se litigants may provide courtesy copies of their UMC motions and notices of hearing to the Court via regular mail.

Counsel may also bring a copy of the motion and notice of hearing to the UMC hearing, along with three (3) proposed Orders for the Court's signature.

If you resolve your motion prior to the UMC hearing date, please cancel your scheduled hearing by going on-line.

Appearance by telephone is permitted at UMC hearings using CourtCall. CourtCall.com is the service provider used for the purposes of scheduling and appearing at a non-evidentiary hearing via telephone.

To set a telephonic appearance for a hearing that is presently set, please go to CourtCall.com and/or call 1-888-882-6878 and follow the instructions. No Motion or Order for telephone appearance is required, however, your opposing counsel/party must be aware that you are appearing via telephone, and must advise the Judge at the start of the hearing.

Family - Service and Preparation of Orders

Family Division "FC" Final Judgments and Orders received by e-mail will be e-filed to all parties that have registered e-mail addresses with the Clerk of Court.

Family Division "FC" Final Judgments and Orders received by mail will be mailed out if additional copies of the order and self-addressed stamped envelopes are provided.

Administrative Order 5.204 requires that some portion of text of the Order be included on signature page.

Proposed Final Judgments and/or Agreed Orders should be submitted by email to CAD-DivisionFC@PBCGOV.ORG, in "WORD FORMAT" within ten (10) days following the hearing as requested by the Court.

Proposed orders should include a cover letter specifying the date that the hearing was heard.

Uncontested Dissolutions of Marriage

Can be heard at UMC (follow UMC rules above)

Testimony at Final Hearing and Final Disposition forms must be completed (available on the 15th Judicial Circuit Website)

Confirm notice required by Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.440 and Fla. Stat. §61.19

Bring proof of residency Fla. Stat. §61.052(2)

Verify all documents necessary are in court file (Fla. Stat. §§61.052(7), (8); 61.21(4); Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.285(d)(j)

Bring a proposed final judgment along with additional copies if you would like a conformed copy.

  • Bring Income Withholding Order, if needed.

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 561-355-4648 or 561-355-4506.

Scheduling Hearings

Motions must be filed and docketed with clerk before hearing dates can be given or a hearing can be set. Parties are requested to file a Notice of Unavailability with clerk before a date can be set in order to prevent conflicts.

Person requesting hearing must confirm availability with opposing counsel or pro se litigant before setting the hearing. Special set hearings must be scheduled online via the Division FC online calendar. Hearing times are available in blocks of 15 or 30 minutes.

The Order Specially Setting Hearing will automatically be uploaded and sent to the Court for entry.  Therefore, it is not necessary to send a courtesy copy to the Court.

Special set hearings are set by Court order and cannot be cancelled except by further order of the Court, unless the matter is settled (with an agreed order presented to Court) or withdrawn

If the hearing is evidentiary, that must be noted on the proposed Order on Special Set Hearing.

Failure to comply with these procedures will result in cancellation of your hearing by the Court.

Any hearing that requires more than thirty (30) minutes, please send your request to Judge Francis with the amount of time requested for your motion and a copy of the motion to CAD-DivisionFC@pbcgov.org. Judge Francis will review and decide whether the amount of time you are requesting is appropriate for your motion. The judicial assistant will contact you once Judge Francis has reviewed the motion.

Judge Francis will review all motions, memoranda of law (10 pages maximum - either in support or opposition to the motion), and case authority in advance of all special set hearings. Accordingly, all counsel/parties should provide courtesy copies of their special set motions, memoranda of law and supporting case law to the Court via the following email address: CAD-DivisionFC@pbcgov.org, and designate the date and time of the hearing which they reference. Counsel/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. If the documents exceeds 10 pages, please send a courtesy copy via US mail to the Court (please allow plenty of time if sending via US mail).

All parties and witnesses shall be physically present when testifying at a hearing or trial, unless approved for telephonic appearance, or otherwise directed by court order.  

Telephonic Appearance

Appearance by telephone is permitted at special set hearings/trials only with leave of Court, and in full compliance with Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.530 and Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.451

To set a telephonic appearance for a hearing that is presently set, please contact Court Call (888-882-6878), CourtScribes (833-727-4237 ext 3), or Zoom (888-799-9666) and follow the instructions. A witness may testify by telephone only in strict compliance with Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.530 and Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.451. Please note, if you are a witness or are planning to give testimony in your case, you must have a notary public present with you for the purpose of confirming your identification, and/or to swear the witness.

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 FC 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

Emergency Motions

Motions for Emergency Hearing should be filed with the Clerk's eportal and then click the Emergency Filing box that states, "Check This Box to Specify That This is an Emergency Filing." Judge Francis will review the Emergency Motion and email any Order(s) on the Emergency Motion to all counsel of record.

Post Judgment Matters

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

All post judgment matters referred under Rule 12.490, Fla. Fam. L.R.P. (Non-Child Support Issues) require an Order of Referral to General Magistrate. See  Administrative Order 5.104 and 12.490 Fla. Fam. L.R.P.

A proposed Order of Referral to General Magistrate must be submitted to the Judge utilizing the approved template in Online Scheduling application.

To submit a proposed Order of Referral, please log in to your Online Scheduling account and click on "Submit Order from Template". View a tutorial video on how to submit a proposed order in Online Scheduling application.

No Order of Referral to General Magistrate should be issued as to a child support matter. See, Fla. R. Fam. P. 12.490 and Fla. R. Fam. P. 12.491. However, pursuant to Ferencz v. Ferencz, 897 So. 2d 558 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2005), if the subject matter referred is in the nature of child support and attorney's fees are sought, an Order of Referral to General Magistrate needs to be entered. In such an instance, to avoid unnecessary Objection to an Order of Referral to General Magistrate, if attorney's fees are at issue, the Order of Referral to General Magistrate should state: "The attorney's fees component of this Motion (or Petition) is the sole subject of this Order of Referral to General Magistrate."

Effective immediately:  All Orders of Referral to a General Magistrate must contain 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, you will need three separate Orders of Referral (one per motion). The following rooms are associated with the following Magistrates: Peter Bassaline = Hearing Room "C" and Temi Zeitenberg = Hearing Room "D"

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

  • Magistrate Damary Stokes: A-K (Male last name)
  • Magistrate Maxine Williams : L - Z (Male last name)
  • Attorney or pro se litigant should send the proper 15th Judicial Circuit Order of Referral to Magistrate to the Judge.
  • 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 FC online calendar (Administrative Order 5.206) and send the Order Specially Setting Hearing in Word format to CAD-DivisionFC@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 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.

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.

You may obtain a trial date before completing mediation, but you must complete mediation prior to trial.

The original notice must be filed with the Clerk. A courtesy copy should be emailed to CAD-DivisionFC@pbcgov.org. Trial Orders are served via email to all parties registered for e-service.

Continuances of trial require a hearing on Uniform Motion Calendar. CAUTION: Do not notice your case for trial unless both sides agree the case is trial ready. Continuances will only be granted if good cause is shown.

Service and Preparation of Judgments And Orders

  • FINAL JUDGMENTS and Orders will be e-mailed 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 blank 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 by email to to CAD-DivisionFC@pbcgov.org, in Word format or Rich Text Format, within ten (10) days following the hearing
  • Proposed order should include a cover letter specifying the date of the hearing

Adoptions and Name Changes

  • All adoption and name change statutory requirements must be met before a final hearing will be set. TPR or 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 and minor child name changes (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
  • An uncontested TPR may be heard at the end of a Uniform Motion Calendar, time permitting. If you have any questions regarding your adoption case, send an e-mail to: southcountyadoptions@pbcgov.org