FH and IH Divisional News

15th Circuit Announcement Concerning Cornonavirus

Please see the most recent and amended 15th Judicial Circuit Administrative Order 12.510-03/2020.3 regarding Mitigating Measures in Response to COVID-19.

Based on the Administrative Order, only essential in-person court proceedings are being held. All non-essential in-person proceedings are suspended until May 1, 2020, including the in-person UMC docket for Family and Probate as well as the ex parte Probate Docket.

All in-person special set hearings and trials are canceled and/or suspended effective March 18, 2020 until May 1, 2020, except: domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, and stalking injunction hearings and emergency temporary guardianship hearings.

Per the AO, when possible, essential court proceedings will be held remotely using communication equipment. If it is not possible to conduct the proceeding remotely, then the judge will consider handling the hearing in court with the appropriate social distancing.

Most evidentiary hearings cannot be handled remotely. If you believe that your case requires emergency action pursuant to Family Admin. Order 5.203-1/17 or Probate Admin. Order 6.104-11/14, please file the appropriate motion in writing for the judge's consideration.

All Agreed Orders and Proposed Orders shall be submitted through the OLS system for the judge's review. All motions pertaining to the Agreed Order or Proposed Order shall be submitted as an Attachment to the Agreed Order or Proposed Order in OLS.

All courthouse buildings remain open. Mediations will be held remotely Monday through Friday. On the following Fridays, all court hearings are suspended with the exception of: first appearances at the Gun Club Criminal Justice Complex, juvenile detention and shelter hearings at the Main Courthouse, walk-in/emergency Baker Act and Marchman Act hearings at the South, North and Main Courthouses, and any other emergency or time sensitive hearing as specially set by any judge at any courthouse.

  • March 27, 2020
  • April 3, 2020
  • April 10, 2020*
    *(Court Holiday—Baker/Marchman walk-ins and Juvenile hearings will be held at Gun Club)
  • April 17, 2020
  • April 24, 2020
  • May 1, 2020

Probate Checklists Now Available

Digital Probate Checklists are now available in the 15th Circuit's Online Services System ("OLS").

Digital Checklists eliminate the need to schedule ex-parte hearings.

Additionally, the Checklists limit the constant flow of paper back and forth between the probate divisions and the case managers.

Digital Checklists also comply with Supreme Court Administrative Order AOSC19-74.

All lawyers are encouraged to use Digital Checklists to help identify any technical or operational issues prior to the hard launch date of May 1, 2020, after which they will be the required method of submission.

How Does It Work?

To Submit an Order:

As an example, below are the steps to submit an Order for Testate 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;
      • 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 can impact families 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.

IMPORTANT:

ALL PROPOSED ORDERS FOR PROBATE CASES SHOULD BE SUBMITTED DIRECTLY THROUGH THE OLS SYSTEM AND SHOULD NOT BE SENT TO THE JUDGE'S CAD DIVISION EMAIL OR VIA US MAIL. PLEASE SEE SUPREME COURT ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER AOSC19-74 WHICH DISCUSSES TRANSITION TO A "FULLY ELECTRONIC ENVIRONMENT THAT IS LARGELY PAPERLESS."

PLEASE NOTE:
Documents without a checklist may be forwarded to the case manager for review in the ordinary course. Incomplete or inaccurate checklists will be returned with a deficiency or rejection memorandum in the ordinary course. To avoid unnecessary delays in processing your paperwork, please ensure all checklists are accurate and complete.

DEFICIENCIES:
If you receive a Deficiency or Rejection Memorandum, Status Order, or other Order of Deficiency, you may avoid an ex-parte hearing by curing your deficiency immediately and filing all necessary documentation to show the deficiency has been cured.  Once ALL the cited deficiencies have been cured and related documents have posted on the docket, please send your proposed order(s) through OLS with a notation that all deficiencies have been cured.

FOR QUESTIONS REGARDING OLS AND PROBATE MATTERS PLEASE CONTACT THE PROBATE CASE MANAGER AT 561 274-1434.