FA Divisional Instructions

Important Messages

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.

In Conjunction with Florida Supreme Court AOSC21-17, and the Local Administrative Order 12.510, going forward the Family FA and Probate IB will notice trials and hearings to be conducted in person beginning June 21, 2021. 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 and IB will continue to conduct the following non-essential court proceedings by remote means until further order of the Court.

Family Division FA

  • UMC Hearings
  • Lack of Prosecution hearings
  • Case Management and Status Check
  • Uncontested final hearings for self-represented litigants- Case Manager, Lisset can be reached at (561) 355-1773
  • 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

Division FA is now participating in Online Services, E-filing, and E-mail Service. The following email addresses should be used for correspondence  to the Court: CAD-DivisionFA@pbcgov.org.

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 to the court.

Division FA is now participating in Online Scheduling for UMC hearings.  Click on the link Online Services and follow the directions. Please see the button below.

Online Services

ALL Uniform Motion Calendar hearings are to be scheduled via OLS. Motions, Agreements and Memoranda of law should be mailed five (5) days before the hearing to the court.

Please upload the proposed order(s) the day before your scheduled hearing.

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

General Magistrates Referrals

Effective immediately, 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.

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.

Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC)

  • Follow the Admin Order 5.201-6/19 when setting your UMC hearings.
  • Motions will need to be mailed or dropped off  prior to the hearing. Please do not email Motions, memoranda, etc.
  • 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 telephonic 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, name change and temporary custody 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 Cheesman will review all motions scheduled for UMC prior to the hearing.
  •  Counsel shall mail copies of the Motion and Agreements five days prior of the UMC 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.
  • Can be scheduled on the UMC calendar (follow UMC rules above)
  • Testimony at Final Hearing sheet and Final Disposition form 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
  • Upload proof of residency Fla. Stat. §61.052(2)
  • Mail copies of the Motion and Notice of Hearing five (5) business days prior to the UMC hearing.
  • 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

Please do not call the judicial assistant if there are no available hearing dates or dates the parties cannot agree to. The Judicial Assistant monitors the online scheduling on a regular basis and will open dates as they become available. What is listed is what is available.

  • The hearing times are set in 15 or 30 minute increments. The parties should not set more than 30 minutes per case per day.
  • Motions must be e-filed and docketed with clerk before hearing dates can be given or a hearing can be set.
  • All motions will need to be mailed or dropped off before the scheduled hearing for Judge review. Please DO NOT email.
  • 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 FA online calendar.
  • Special set hearings cannot be cancelled except by further order of the Court, unless the matter is settled (with an agreed order sent via the Online Scheduling) or withdrawn.
  • Email CAD-DivisionFA@pbcgov.org to notify the court if an agreement has been made.
  • 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 thirty (30) minutes or more are to be requested, with the amount of time, motion type to CAD-DivisionFA@pbcgov.org. The Judicial Assistant will contact you via email, once Judge Cheesman has reviewed the motion.
  • Notice of Unavailability are required to be filed on all cases.
  • Motions are to be mailed 5 days prior the hearing.
  • AFTER THE COURT RULING, PROPOSED ORDERS ARE TO BE UPLOADED VIA OLS.

Judge Cheesman will review all motions, memoranda of law (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  as least five (5) five business days before the hearing via the US Mail and designate the date and time of the hearing. 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.

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

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 in advance via the e-evidence feature in OLS. Do not email to the Judicial Assistant.

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 teleconference or video conference 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 A.O.

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.

The Court upon request, will provide the attorneys (or self-represented parties) with a Zoom invitation by e-mail in advance of each hearing, at no cost to the parties, for the cases requesting Zoom access.  If using Court Call, the dial-in information is automatically provided to the Court once the attorney/party makes the arrangements through Court Call.  If using another provider, or if you choose to use your own teleconferencing system, you must provide the Court with the dial-in information, including passcode, in advance of the hearing, and this information must be included in your Notice of Hearing.

 

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.

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 Cheesman 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 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, not before the hearing.
  • Proposed order should include specify 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. 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 and 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 with approval from the Judicial Assistant. If you have any questions regarding your adoption case, send an e-mail to: centraladoptions@pbcgov.org

QDRO

  • Attorneys/Pro Se Litigants  are to file a QDRO Motion of Entry with the  Plan Administrator pre-approval letter. In the event the Plan Administrator do not require a pre-approval, a letter will need to state this fact and filed with the motion. The QDRO Motion of Entry form can be found in the FA and IB Forms and Orders link to the right. ALL PROPOSED ORDERS WILL NEED TO BE UPLOADED VIA THE OLS ( Online Scheduling System) after the Motion and Letter of Plan Pre-approval have been filed to the case. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE.