FZ Divisional News
Attorneys Only: Please contact the judicial assistant if you need an afternoon UMC hearing and we will accommodate you.
Family/ Probate/Guardianship Standing Order for Hearing Types to Continue Remotely
In Conjunction with Florida Supreme Court AOSC21-17, and the Local Administrative Order 12.510, the Family/ Probate and Guardianship Divisions in this Circuit will continue to conduct the following non-essential court proceedings by remote electronic means until further order of the Court.
- Family Divisions
- UMC Hearings
- Lack of Prosecution hearings
- Case Management, Status Check and Calendar Call hearings
- 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
- Probate/Guardianship Divisions
- UMC hearings
- Emergency Temporary Guardianship hearings
- Incapacity Hearings
- Guardianship Contempt Hearings
- Lack of Prosecution hearings
- Case Management, Status Check and Calendar Call hearings
- Do Not Resuscitate Preliminary hearings
We Do Not Accept e-Courtesy or Emails for UMC & Special Set Hearings
Friendly reminder: All paperwork for the Judge's review (courtesy copies of notice of hearings, memos of law, briefs, responses, case law, etc..) must either be sent to the Judge's office via U.S. regular mail, FedEx, UPS, or via hand-delivery (to the 1st floor drop box) in the South County Courthouse at least 7 days prior to the hearing. Our office does not accept the foregoing via e-mail or e-courtesy. If documentation is not submitted accordingly, The Court reserves the right to cancel the hearing.
The Courthouses are Open
The courthouses remain open for essential functions as published in the Administrative Order 12.510 issued by Chief Judge Marx.
Mediations will be held remotely Monday through Friday.
When scheduling a Specially Set Evidentiary hearing in Family or Probate, please use the Order Setting in the Time of COVID-19. This order is located under Forms and Orders.
Divisional Instructions For Divisions FZ And IZ
In RE: Mitigating Measures In Response To COVID-19 To Easily Enable Video or Telephonic Hearings, Or Rulings Solely On The Papers
The following shall be implemented in Division FZ and IZ pursuant to Administrative Order No.: 12.510, or its progeny. Please refer to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Website for the courts latest updates regarding COVID-19.
Based on the Administrative Order, only essential court proceedings are being held in person. All non-essential proceedings will be handled by video/telephone when possible, or will be rescheduled if necessary.
Unless the parties stipulate otherwise or by separate court order, all scheduled hearings in Division FZ and IZ will remain as set. Absent a stipulation, parties may move to reschedule any hearing, and the Court will promptly consider the request. (A copy of all such requests should be sent to CAD-DivisionFZ@pbcgov.org for family cases, or CAD-DivisionIZ@pbcgov.org for probate/guardianship cases).
During the duration of Administrative Order No.: 12.510-03/2020.4*, all hearings will be conducted via video/telephone, and must be pre-arranged with a video or telephone conference provider. This requirement applies to self-represented litigants as well as attorneys.
Zoom Meeting Information
The Court utilizes a Zoom account which is available to all participants for hearings/trials, at no cost to participants.
Connect via web or mobile app
Connect via phone
- US Toll-free: 877-853-5257
- US Toll-free: 888-475-4499
When appearing remotely for hearings/trials, please observe the following rules:
- If you are having trouble accessing the meeting: Attorneys should contact the Judicial Assistant; Self-represented parties should contact the Case Manager; Represented parties should contact his/her attorney.
- Please wait patiently in the virtual waiting room until your case is called. Remember that the judge may be finishing a prior hearing before your case can be called.
- During the hearing, please MUTE your microphone when you are not speaking. Only ONE person may speak at a time. When it is your turn to speak, remember to UNMUTE, and speak directly and clearly into your microphone.
- Ensure there are no children present, and that no children can hear or see the proceeding.
- If you are testifying as a WITNESS, you must be alone in a quiet room during your testimony. You may not use a virtual background during your testimony. You must turn off all electronic devices except for the device enabling participation in the hearing. You shall refrain from exchanging any electronic messages during your testimony, and you must notify the Court immediately if you receive any electronic communication during your testimony.
Additional Video/Telephone conference providers include Court Call 888-882-6878, CourtScribes (ext 3); Zoom, Cisco Webex, VisualEvidence, etc., but parties are free to seek out other vendors or utilize their own conference call provider if they have one. See the listing of Circuit Approved Video Appearance Vendors for more information. If using a teleconference provider that does not automatically provide a dial-in number, the Notice of Hearing must include the number and passcode that the Court will use to initiate the call at the time of the hearing.
Uniform Motion Calendar and Uncontested Hearings:
All Uniform Motion Calendar hearings will be conducted by video/telephone only, including uncontested dissolution of marriage hearings, or any other hearing that can be handled remotely. For an uncontested divorce, please provide the Court with a copy of the testifying party's driver license in advance, which should be submitted by U.S. Mail. No parties should be physically present in the courtroom unless specifically instructed by the Court. This rule applies to self-represented litigants and court reporters as well as attorneys. In addition, only hearings that have been scheduled on the Online Scheduling System will go forward.
Courtroom # 3 of the South Palm Beach County Courthouse should not be used as the place of hearing on notices of hearing. Instead, future notices of hearing must state that the hearing will be held by video/telephone conference call. Hearings must be set up with the telephone/video conference provider of your choice.
Motion calendar will still commence at 8:45 a.m. and is extended to at least 10:00 a.m. to accommodate the extra time that may be needed for telephone conferencing. Please call in and have all parties on the line promptly at 8:45 a.m. Judge Kerner will then call each case as it appears on the online calendar. Please be patient and continue to hold on the line until your case is called.
Probate Ex-Parte Hearings
Physical hearings for probate ex-parte have been suspended until further notice. Counsel and parties seeking ex-parte relief should continue to submit documents to the Court via Online Services System along with proposed orders. The case will be reviewed in the order in which it is received. For expedited review, submit a completed and correct Probate Checklist, as explained in detail in the Divisional Instructions for Division IZ.
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-DivisionFZ@pbcgov.org for family cases, or CAD-DivisionIZ@pbcgov.org for probate/guardianship 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.
When hearings are necessary for non-evidentiary issues, they will be handled by telephonic hearing.
We do not accept e-courtesy or emails. Friendly reminder: All paperwork for the Judge's review (courtesy copies of notice of hearings, memos of law, briefs, responses, case law, etc..) must either be sent to the Judge's office via U.S. regular mail, FedEx, UPS, or via hand-delivery (to the 1st floor drop box) in the South County Courthouse at least 7 days prior to the hearing. Our office does not accept the foregoing via e-mail or e-courtesy. If documentation is not submitted accordingly, The Court reserves the right to cancel the hearing.
The Court intends to handle evidentiary hearings by video/telephone whenever possible, however, this will require the highest level of professionalism and cooperation between opposing counsel and parties. No less than 5 days prior to each hearing, the parties must exchange all proposed exhibits which they intend to reference during the hearing, by U.S. Mail. Each proposed exhibit must be pre-marked for identification to identify the exhibits numerically.
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 5 days in advance via U.S. Mail.
If witnesses will be called to give testimony, the Court requires that such appearances be pre-arranged with a teleconference provider as set forth above or via video with an appropriate provider. Per Justice Canady's Administrative Order (3-13-2020) and Administrative Order (3-24-20), all rules of procedure, court orders and opinions applicable to court procedure that limit or prohibit the use of communication equipment for conducting proceedings by electronic means are suspended from the March 13, 2020 - April 17, 2020, or as provided by subsequent order.
To the extent possible, court reporters will also utilize a video/teleconference provider to cover hearings/non-jury trials. The Court will administer the oath, or oaths are to be administered in accord with Justice Canady's Administrative Order.
Any motions to assist fair, timely, effective and efficient efforts suggesting procedures the Court can use to address issues relevant to your respective cases during the current outbreak are strongly encouraged by the Court. It is the intention of the Court to enable and facilitate telephone or video hearings in a practical manner or to allow rulings on the papers when acceptable to the parties. Above all, though, the Court wishes to provide for the administration of justice without risking anyone's safety.
Contested Final Hearings and Trials
Some contested final hearings and trials will not be handled by video/telephone at this time, and will most likely need to be rescheduled for a later date. Parties are encouraged to participate in mediation or other alternatives for dispute resolution (which may also be done by telephone during this time), to attempt to resolve disputes which would otherwise require a trial.
Most general questions can be answered by reading the Divisional Instructions herein. For case-specific questions the best way to contact the Judicial Assistant is via email at CAD-DivisionFZ@pbcgov.org for family cases or CAD-DivisionIZ@pbcgov.org.
FOR DIVISIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FZ AND DIVISIONAL INSTRUCTIONS IZ, CLICK ON THE APPROPRIATE LINK LOCATED IN THE LOWER RIGHT-HAND CORNER OF THIS PAGE.
The Fifteenth Circuit has launched a new ex-parte calendaring app that will serve all probate divisions in South County, North County and West Palm Beach.
Prior to first use, users must create an account in the Court's Online Scheduling System (current users can use their existing account).
The ex parte calendaring application can also be accessed by clicking the following link or by visiting www.15thcircuit.com and selecting "View All Web Applications" from within the Circuit Web Applications box.
Division FZ and Division IZ are now participating in Online Scheduling and E-mail Service, therefore, all Special Set Hearings (15/30 minutes) are to be scheduled online.
Division FZ and Division IZ are now participating on UMC Online Scheduling. To schedule a UMC hearing click on the link Online Scheduling and follow the directions.
Judge Kerner will review all Motions, Memoranda of Law and legal authority prior to all UMC and Special Set Hearings. We do not accept e-courtesy or emails.
All paperwork for the Judge's review (courtesy copies of notice of hearings, memos of law, briefs, responses, case law, etc..) must either be sent to the Judge's office via U.S. regular mail, FedEx, UPS, or via hand-delivery (to the 1st floor drop box) in the South County Courthouse at least 7 days prior to the hearing. Our office does not accept the foregoing via e-mail or e-courtesy. If documentation is not submitted accordingly, The Court reserves the right to cancel the hearing DO NOT SEND PROPOSED ORDERS IN ADVANCE OF THE HEARING.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: All Orders Must Be Submitted Through E-Filing Portal (OLS)
Pursuant to Supreme Court Administrative Order AOSC19-74, all orders are to be filed electronically, and directly through the Portal. No mail or email orders. Instead of bringing paper orders (or emailing orders to the court for printing and signing), please submit your orders through our OLS system.
How Does It Work?
To Submit an Order:
- Log into the 15th Circuit's OLS;
- In OLS, create the appropriate order one of three ways:
- Click on the "Submit Order From Template" button;
- Select the Generic Order template, and type in the text of your order; or
- 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.
- In OLS, click the "Submit Proposed Order" button;
- 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.
- Click on the "Submit Order From Template" button;
For additional information on court provided digital training resources visit the Circuit's YouTube channel, CourtHelp4U.
All recorded documents (including final judgments) must provide a 3x3 inch space in the top-right-hand corner. The Clerk of Court will no longer accept documents for recording without this space. Please see Rule 2.520, and MyPalmBeachClerk.com. You may also contact the Clerk of Court for further information as to the specific documents required.
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.
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, Martinique Sanders, at 561-330-1775, 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.