FD Divisional Instructions

Update:

Beginning Immediately:

The Cancelation of a scheduled Special Set Hearing WILL NOT be permitted without and Order from the Court. If parties are seeking a cancelation of a Special Set Hearing, then parties must file the appropriate motion for relief and set said motion for a UMC hearing prior to the Special Set hearing. Notice of Cancelations (NOC) filed or "Agreed Orders Cancelling or Resetting" WILL NOT excuse parties from the hearing.

Important Message

ALL evidence/exhibits must be pre-marked and uploaded via the "E-Evidence" feature located in the OLS (Online Services).  Exhibits should no longer be emailed or mailed to the Judicial Assistant without her prior approval.

Coronavirus UPDATE

Please refer to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Website for the Court's latest updates regarding COVID-19.  The Chief Judge has issued Administrative Order No. 12.510, Mitigating Measures in Response to COVID-19.

During the duration of Administrative Order No. 12.510, only essential court proceedings are being held in-person.  All non-essential proceedings will be handled remotely via Zoom video unless litigants request otherwise.

UPDATE for Uniform Motion Calendar and Uncontested Hearings:

All Uniform Motion Calendar hearings will be conducted via Zoom, including uncontested dissolution of marriage hearings, or any other hearing that can be handled remotely.  No one will be present in the courtroom. This rule applies to pro se litigants and court reporters as well as attorneys.  In addition, only hearings that have been scheduled on the Online Scheduling System will go forward. 

Zoom Meeting Information for UMC Docket Only

Link to Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 959 6823 6459
Password: ctroom6c

Dial by your location

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

Meeting ID: 959 6823 6459
Password: 946852 for Toll-free #

Future notices of hearing must state that the hearing will be conducted via Zoom.   This information must be included in your notice of hearing.  When joining the Zoom meeting please join with a personal link name.   All counsel please instruct your clients on how to join with a personal link name .

Please upload your Notice of Hearing, Motion or Petition being heard and proposed Order to the Online Scheduling System at least 3 days in advance of the hearing.

For an uncontested divorce, please provide the Court with a copy of the testifying party's driver license in advance, which may be uploaded in the Online Services System (OLS) as an attachment to the proposed Final Judgment with a confidential notice.  Additionally, any Settlement Agreement and/or Parenting Plan should be uploaded as an attachment to the proposed Final Judgment.

Non-evidentiary Hearings:

The parties are encouraged to submit their motions, responses, affidavits, etc., to the Court that they mutually agree the Court may address based solely upon the papers, and thereby waive oral argument.  All such requests should be sent to CAD-DivisionFD@pbcgov.org for DIV: FD cases and CAD-DivisionID@pbcgov.org for DIV: ID-Probate cases .  Each side should prepare a proposed order to be submitted through the Online Services System (OLS) with notation that it is related to a disputed issue which the parties have agreed for the Court to review without a hearing.

Evidentiary Hearings:

The Court intends to handle evidentiary hearings by telephone or video whenever possible, however, this requires the highest level of professionalism and cooperation between opposing counsel and the parties.  No less than 72 hours prior to each hearing, the parties must exchange all proposed exhibits which they intend to reference during the hearing by email in .pdf format.  Each proposed exhibit must be pre-marked for identification to identify the exhibits numerically and uploaded through the Clerk's E-evidence portal no less than 5 business days before the start of the hearing/ trial. 

The parties should stipulate to the admissibility of evidence for which the admissibility is not reasonably contested.  The parties shall provide copies of all intended exhibits, evidence or demonstratives to the Court submitted via mail/delivery to the Court no less than five (5) business days. 

Agreed Orders

If a Motion(s) is resolved, an Agreed Order on that Motion(s) can be submitted to the Judge's office and the Order must say "Agreed Order on Motion (Title of Motion)". The Agreed Order MUST be sent to be uploaded via OLS, NOT via e-mail or U.S Mail. Please be sure to include (attach) a cover letter/cover sheet and Motion to the Judge indicating the all parties have reviewed and agreed to the language of the proposed Agreed Order. If any supporting attachment is missing (cover letter or motion) the Order will be rejected for correction. The names and addresses of all persons receiving copies must appear in the Agreed Order, pursuant to Administrative Order 2.306.

For All Hearings:

All pleadings upon which the parties intend to rely for their scheduled hearings must be filed with the Court in advance of the hearing.  If the papers do not appear on the docket, the parties must submit all documents which they intend to reference during the hearing five (5) business days prior via mail/delivery. 

Division FD Instructions

Division FD is now participating in Online Scheduling, E-filing, and E-mail Service. The following email addresses should be used for e-mail service to the Court: CAD-DivisionFD@pbcgov.org.

Division FD is now participating in Online Scheduling for UMC hearings. Go to Online Services and follow the directions.

Online Services

Effective immediately, Orders 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.

Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC)

  • Tuesday through Thursday, 8:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m., in Courtroom 6C. Scheduling is between the attorneys and/or self-represented litigants. The hearings are not scheduled with the judicial assistant. Parties will be heard on a first come, first serve basis (please sign in with the courtroom deputy).
  • Generally, five (5) minutes is allotted for a matter on the UMC docket.
  • No contested evidentiary hearings (including default final hearings) will be heard during UMC.
  • Final hearings for adoption should not be set on the UMC calendar.  These matters will be special set for final hearing by the Court.  Please contact the Judicial Assistant to special set a hearing relating to adoption matters.
  • Uncontested final hearings in dissolution, paternity, and name change cases will be heard during UMC.
  • Matters should be set with five (5) business days’ notice to opposing counsel or pro se litigant (unless short notice agreed by parties).
  • Judge Johnson will review all motions scheduled for UMC prior to the hearing. Accordingly, prior to the scheduled hearing, please send a courtesy copy of the notice of hearing and motion for all UMC matters, to Judge Johnson’ via US mail, or  at the 1st floor drop box.

The original Motion and Notice of Hearing must be filed at least 5 working days in advance of the UMC hearing date, with the Clerk of Court, MUST be uploaded when setting hearing and a courtesy hard copy MUST be sent to opposing counsel and Judicial Assistant (send to the Judicial Assistant via U.S. regular mail - courtesy copies must be sent U.S. regular mail, NOT e-mail). The Judicial Assistant will NOT be printing documents for parties unless otherwise ordered by the Judge.

If a matter has been scheduled on the UMC docket and it was resolved, re-set or cancelled, Parties need to make sure to cancel the Hearing Online. If no one appears at a scheduled UMC hearing, the Court assumes that the issue was resolved between the parties or a conflict exists, and that the Motion will be reset for hearing if need be. Please DO NOT CALL the Judicial Assistant to Cancel the UMC for you.

Counsel should also upload the Proposed Order for the Motion with all email addresses listed upon the Order one (1) day prior to the hearing.

Proposed Orders

FD DIVISION CASES:

ALL Proposed Orders MUST be uploaded with cover letter and/ or supporting attachments through Online Services Page (OLS) , NOT via e-mail or U.S mail. This is a directive of the Supreme Court AOSC19-74 (Paper Orders are no longer accepted for signature by the Court).

How Does It Work?

To Submit an Order:

As an example, below are the steps to submit an Order for Estate Summary Administration:

  • Log into the 15th Circuit's OLS;
  • In OLS, create the appropriate order one of three ways:
    1. Click on the "Submit Order From Template" button;
      • Select the Generic Order template, and type in the text of your order; or
    2. If you have previously drafted the order in Word offline, cut and paste the order text into the body of the Generic Order template.
      • Follow the instructions on the screen and complete.
      • Click "Submit" to send the order to the judge.
    3. In OLS, click the "Submit Proposed Order" button; (do not upload to "Submit e-courtesy")
      • Browse your computer and select, then upload the order;
      • Review the document and make any format adjustments necessary prior to submission.
      • Follow the instructions on the screen to submit the order to the court.

To Submit a Digital Probate Checklist:

  • In OLS, click on the "Submit Order From Template" button;
  • Select the appropriate probate checklist from the dropdown menu.
  • Populate the checklist completely and accurately.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen and complete.
  • Click "Submit" to send the order to the judge.

We realize that the current paper process can cause delays in processing these orders, which impacts families at the worst time when they are dealing with the death of a loved one. Digital Checklists are intended to expedite the receiving, processing, filing and service of these orders.

For additional information on court provided digital training resources visit the Circuit's YouTube channel, CourtHelp4U.

You may also send an e-mail to CAD-WEB@pbcgov.org for assistance with uploading documents onto OLS.

Specially Set Hearings

Special Set Hearings are scheduled by e-mail request  to the Judicial Assistant.

Family cases please use cad-divisionfd@pbcgov.org

Probate cases please use cad-divisionid@pbcgov.org

When submitting a request:

The Moving Party shall email the divisional email and cc: all Parties on the case, ONCE, with the following information:

1. Name of the Case and Case number on the Subject line

2.  The Body of the email:

       List of the Title of the Motion(s) , date filed and docket number, requesting the hearing for

3. TOTAL time requesting for the motion

The Judicial Assistant will review your request and provide parties with dates and times the Court is available. Please DO NOT send multiple e-mails with the same request.

Motions may not be added to the time and date given.

If parties wish to hear related motions together, then an email must be sent to the Judicial Assistant with the same information requesting, indicated above, by ONE designated party and copied to ALL parties. The Judicial Assistant will review and will provide available date and times to make sure all Motions are heard by the Court in one date.

Please DO NOT send multiple e-mails with the same request.

For Special Set Hearings lasting more than 30 minutes, please mail a cover letter specifying the amount of time requested, a courtesy copy of the pleading, and any dates of unavailability. 

You CANNOT cancel a Special Set hearing once the hearing date and time has been secured. The ONLY way a special set hearing can be cancelled (absent an extreme emergency) is if the Motion has been RESOLVED and/or WITHDRAWN with Prejudice. The judicial assistant may cancel a special set hearing ONLY after the appropriate motions for continuation/ cancellation have been heard and Orders have been entered by the Court. If the special set motion has been resolved and/or withdrawn with prejudice, then you MUST E-MAIL the judicial assistant and request to cancel the special set hearing.

Review of Documents:

Judge Johnson will review all Motions, Memoranda of Law and legal authority prior to all UMC and Special Set Hearings. Accordingly, please mail courtesy copies of materials for UMC and Special Set Hearings to the Court for review in advance of all hearings. Motion, Memoranda of Law and legal authority will need to mail or drop off at Courthouse 5 days prior to hearing date.

Local Rule 4

Strict compliance with amended Local Rule 4. Prior to setting a matter on the motion calendar, the party or counsel noticing the motion shall attempt to resolve the matter and shall certify the good faith attempt to resolve. See amended Local Rule 4.

Service and Preparation of Judgments and Orders

  • FINAL JUDGMENTS and Orders will be e-served by the Court to all parties or mailed if there are self-represented litigants 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 should be submitted to OLS, in Word format or Rich Text Format within ten (10) days following the hearing unless otherwise orderedProposed Final Judgments should be submitted one (1) day prior to Final Hearing.
  • Proposed order should include a cover letter specifying the date of the hearing.

Self-Represented Parties (Pro Se)

If you are a self-represented pro se party (with no attorney), you must contact the Family Court Case Manager, Renee Ward, at 561-355-4656, for questions and guidance regarding your case.

To receive and serve court documents by email, please review Administrative Order 2.310 and complete and file a Notice of Designation of Email Address for E-Service.

Do Not Send Letters, Emails or Notes To The Court. 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, send a copy to the opposing side and a courtesy copy to the Court in order for requests to be addressed by the Court. All documents emailed to the Court must state that they were emailed to the opposing side in the same email or they will be returned as ex parte communication.

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.

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 FD 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 as set forth above.