IX Divisional News

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 FY And IX
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 FY and IX 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 FY and IX 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-DivisionFY@pbcgov.org for family cases, or CAD-DivisionIX@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.

The Court utilizes a Zoom account, which is available to all participants for hearings/trials, at no cost to participants. The Judicial Assistant or Case Manager will send an email with the Zoom meeting information to each attorney and/or self-represented party the day prior to the scheduled hearing.

When appearing remotely for hearings/trials, please observe the following rules:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ensure there are no children present, and that no children can hear or see the proceeding.
  5. 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.
  6. Any witness appearing via telephone (no video) must have a notary public available to be sworn-in or have filed an affidavit if a notary is not available.

Additional Video/Telephone conference providers include Court Call (888-882-6878); CourtScribes (833-727-4237 ext 3); Cisco Webex, Visual Evidence, etc, but the 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 uploaded in the Online Services System (OLS) as an attachment to the Final Judgment. 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 # 5 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.

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 Laurie 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.

As the court continues to hold hearings via Zoom, parties may view the recurring Zoom Meeting information below to appear at Uniform Motion Calendar hearings. A recurring Zoom Meeting link is being provided for all UMC hearings through December 2020. The moving party scheduling the hearing can provide the necessary Zoom Meeting information on the Notice of Hearing, as the Court will no longer be inviting parties to Uniform Motion Calendar. It will be the responsibility of the parties to appear via Zoom with the Zoom Meeting information provided on the Court's website.

Topic: UMC DOCKET 8:45 a.m.-9:30 a.m.& Wednesday's from 3:45 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. (limited time only)

Time: This is a recurring meeting that meets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 932 6477 5237

Password: 07294973

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Meeting ID: 932 6477 5237

Password: 07294973

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 IX.

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-DivisionFY@pbcgov.org for family cases, or CAD-DivisionIX@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 appearance.

Evidentiary Hearings

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 48 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.

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 in .pdf format to CAD-DivisionFY@pbcgov.org for family cases, or CAD-DivisionIX@pbcgov.org for probate/guardianship cases.

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 and the witness must have a notary public available to be sworn-in or have an Affidavit if a notary is not available. 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 while ensuring everyone's health and 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.

Attorney/Guardian Fees

The court must consider certain criteria defined in FL §744.108 when reviewing attorney and Guardian fees; therefore, all fee petitions shall include the nature and value of the ward's assets at the time of filing, the monthly income earned and the monthly expenses of the ward.

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, or even come to the courthouse.

Additionally, they 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 now to help identify any technical or operational issues prior to the hard launch date, after which they will be the required method of submission.

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-DivisionFY@pbcgov.org for family cases or CAD-DivisionIX@pbcgov.org.

FOR DIVISIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FY AND DIVISIONAL INSTRUCTIONS IX, 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 FY and Division IX are now participating in Online Scheduling and E-mail Service, therefore, all Special Set Hearings (15/30 minutes) are to be scheduled online.

Division FY and Division IX are now participating in UMC Online Scheduling. To schedule a UMC hearing click on the link Online Scheduling and follow the directions.

Once a hearing has been scheduled online, and an order has been signed by the judge, you cannot add on motions to be heard.

If there is no online scheduling time available, please email the office (CAD-divisionfy@pbcgov.org or CAD-divisionix@pbcgov.org) to obtain a hearing date.

Do not schedule post-judgment matters online, unless you have an objection and order sustaining objection to the magistrate docketed in the court file.

Please take note of Courthouse Holidays on the Circuit website before scheduling hearings.

You may not send an agreed order to cancel a trial. If you need a continuance of a matter that is not an ex-parte hearing or a UMC hearing, you must file a motion to continue and set the matter for UMC Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:45 am. Please check the suspension dates to make sure court is in session.

Judge Laurie will review all Motions, Memoranda of Law and legal authority prior to all UMC and Special Set Hearings. Accordingly, please upload all hearing materials (motions and notice of hearings are automatically uploaded when you schedule the hearing online) Memoranda of Law and legal authority for UMC hearings to CAD-DivisionUMCFY-IX@pbcgov.org and Special Set Hearings in family matters to CAD-DivisionFY@pbcgov.org and in probate matters to CAD-DivisionIX@pbcgov.org to the Court for review in advance of all hearings. 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:
    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.
  • Please Note: If you are submitting an Order for Discharge and a digital checklist, you must still obtain the Probate Closing Checklist from the Clerk.

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.

Formatting Documents

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, Erika Ireland, at 561-355-1733, 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.