Pursuant to Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order AOSC21-17, and Local Administrative Order 12.515-06/2021*, effective June 21, 2021, all trials and hearings will be conducted in person, except the following, which will occur via Zoom, until further order of the Court:
Family Division FC
- UMC Hearings
- Lack of Prosecution hearings
- Case Management and Status Check 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
All hearings previously noticed to occur via Zoom, will proceed unchanged, unless the parties agree to in-person proceedings, which is subject to approval by the Court.
Division FC 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-DivisionFC@pbcgov.org.
Family Law Division FC – please send all proposed orders and final judgments via the OLS the day before the hearing. Courtesy copies of motions for special set hearings, memorandums, and case authority shall be printed and sent via US Mail or hand delivery by courier five (5) days in advance of the hearing.
Division FC is now participating in Online Scheduling for UMC hearings. Click on the link Online Scheduling and follow the directions. Please see the button below.
ALL Uniform Motion Calendar hearings are to be scheduled via OLS.
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 the OLS.
Agreed Paternity Cases
- Agreed Paternity Cases will need to be set for a final hearing. You can schedule the hearing for an UMC hearing. The court no longer accepts the agreement and proposed order without the hearing.
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 the 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)
Zoom Meeting Information
- Follow the Admin Order 5.201-6/19 when setting your UMC hearings.
- UMC calendar is each Tuesday through Thursday, from 8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., in Courtroom 6B. Scheduling is coordinated between the parties. The hearings are not scheduled with the Judicial Assistant.
- The Court will only allow a maximum of 3 ( three) motions in one given case to be set.
- No contested evidentiary hearings are permitted on the UMC calendar, which includes default final hearings.
- Uncontested final hearings in dissolution, paternity, name change and temporary custody cases will be heard during UMC (must send request for final hearing to Judicial Assistant via cad email before scheduling UMC).
- 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.
- Counsel shall mail copies of the Motion and Notice of Hearing 5 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. PROPOSED ORDERS SHOULD BE UPLOADED NO EARLIER THAN 1 DAY PRIOR TO THE SCHEDULED HEARING.
If you resolve your motion prior to the hearing date, please notify the Judicial Assistant via email, and send agreed order via the OLS.
UMC Telephonic Appearance
Appearance by telephone is permitted at UMC hearings in compliance with Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.530 and Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.451,. Court Call, Court Scribes and Zoom ( Parties are free to seek out other vendors) are service providers used for the purposes of scheduling and appearing at a non-evidentiary hearing via telephone. You must notify the opposing side to let them know that you will be appearing by telephone. The opposing side that is not appearing by telephone, must advise the Judge at the beginning of the hearing that someone is appearing by telephone.
Court Call: 888-882-6878
Court Scribes: 833-727-4237 Ext 3
Uncontested Dissolutions of Marriage
- Ensure ALL required documents are filed with the Clerk of Courts (§§61.052(7), (8); 61.21(4), Fla. Stat.; 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 §61.19, Fla. Stat.
- Bring proof of residency §61.052(2),Fla. Stat.
- Mail copies of the Motion and Notice of Hearing 5 days prior of 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
Zoom Meeting Information
All special set hearings scheduled in OLS, will populate an Order Setting Hearing with zoom information automatically. The Order will be transferred to the Judge for review and signature. Please do not submit a separate Proposed Order or Notice of Hearing.
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 FC 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-DivisionFC@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, and the motion type, to CAD-DivisionFC@pbcgov.org. The Judicial Assistant will contact you via email, once Judge Francis 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.
Judge Francis 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 at least 5 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.
Submission of Witness List
If you wish to call witnesses to testify at the hearing, you must submit a witness list containing the name and address of every witness. If you intend to call expert witnesses, you should include the name of the expert witness, the address of the expert witness and nature of the expert testimony. Your witness list must be submitted to the Court through the OLS system and opposing counsel at least five (5) business days before the hearing and the transmittal document must designate the date and time of the hearing for which they are submitted.
Submission of Memoranda and Case Law
All memoranda and/or case authority must be submitted to the Court and opposing counsel via U.S. mail or hand delivered by courier at least five (5) business days before the hearing and the transmittal document must designate the date and time of the hearing for which they are submitted.
All cases and legal authorities submitted to the court must be tabbed or digitally bookmarked, with pertinent sections highlighted.
Submission of Exhibit List and Exhibits
If you wish to introduce evidence to the Court, chronologically numbered exhibit list and all exhibits must be clearly marked and must be submitted to the Court and opposing counsel via U.S. mail or hand delivered by courier at least five (5) business days before the hearing and the transmittal document must designate the date and time of the hearing for which they are submitted.
The documents must be submitted to the Court and the other attorney (or self-represented) party at the same time, otherwise it will NOT be considered by the Court. Further, confidential information (such as Bank Accounts, Social Security Numbers, etc.) should be removed from documents provided to the Court as required by Fla. R. Jud. Admin., Rule 2.420(d).
All exhibits must be clearly marked before the hearing is set to begin. Exhibits shall be marked by a numbered sticker on the top right-hand corner of the front of each exhibit clearly identifying the case number and party who is offering the exhibit, e.g., Petitioner or Respondent. It is not the responsibility of the Court or judicial assistant to label the parties' exhibits for them. The Court will not accept unlabeled exhibits.
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.
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.Video conference is paid for by the requesting party and is allowed upon Court approval for evidentiary hearing.
CourtCall.com is the service provider used for the purposes of scheduling and appearing at an evidentiary hearing or trial via telephone. To set a telephonic appearance for a hearing or trial that is presently set, please go to CourtCall.com and/or call 1-888-882-6878 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, unless permission is granted by the Court for more time. Administrative Order 5.207
- Follow instructions for Special Set Hearings
- Notice of Unavailability are required to be filed on all cases.
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 Francis 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 James B. Williams: 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 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 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 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-DivisionFC@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.
- UPON RECEIPT OF NOTICE TO SET CAUSE FOR TRIAL, A DIFFERENTIATED CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE WILL BE SET.
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 OLS ( Online Services), in Word format and PDF format for Attachments, within five (5) days following the hearing, but no earlier than 1 day prior to 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attorneys are to draft the QDRO and send to the Plan Administrator for pre-approval. Once the Plan Administrator states the QDRO is pre-approved in letter form, submit the proposed QDRO to the court for signature, represent that it was Pre-approved and attach a copy of pre-approval letter. Self Represented Litigants or Counsel should file a copy of the "qualification" letter with the Court.