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Procedures/Preferences


We are accepting motions and orders through JAWS.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LAWYER: 

THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT CANNOT answer your legal questions, and will not explain your situation to the Judge. Your opportunity to speak to the Judge is during your court hearing. In cases where BOTH PARTIES do not have lawyers (pro se matters), Court dates are scheduled only through Case Manager, Robert Koehler, 813-272-6183, and not through the Judge’s office. 

 

COMMUNICATION WITH THIS OFFICE: The preferred form of communication for setting and cancelling hearings is by e-mail at FamLawDivJ@Fljud13.org. The following should be included in the email: case number, case name, what you are asking to be set or cancelled, and how long you will need for the hearing.

 

CANCELLATION OF HEARING:  DO NOT CANCEL A HEARING WITHOUT NOTIFICATION AND AGREEMENT OF ALL PARTIES. A notice of Cancellation MUST be immediately e-filed with the Clerk of Court AND a courtesy copy of said Notice of Cancellation sent to the division e-mail address at FamLawDivJ@fljud13.org.

  

OPEN DOCKET-  UMC (Uniform Motion Calendar) and Uncontested Final Hearings:  

This docket is intended for hearings expected to last 5 MINUTES OR LESSThis is a multi-case docket and there will be either a 30 minute docket or a 60 minute docket in which a group of either 7 or 15 cases may be scheduled.  Due to the way in which JAWS is formatted for viewing by outside parties, it may appear to parties that they are setting a hearing for the full 30 or 60 minute block of time.  THIS IS NOT THE CASE. No adoptions will be heard on the Open Docket.   The Open Docket is appropriate for short hearings such as status conferences, uncontested motions, or other motions for which the hearing is expected to last five minutes or less. 

 

ATTORNEY MOTION DOCKET:

Division J also offers a MOTION DOCKET for non-post-judgment cases to accommodate hearings UP TO 30 MINUTES IN DURATIONIf your Motion is a post-judgment Motion, IT MUST be referred to the General Magistrate and should not be scheduled on this docket.  The Motion Docket will be available on-line through JAWS (similar to the Open Docket) for you to schedule either 15 minute hearings or 30 minute hearings.  If you are unable to clear time on the Motion Docket for your hearing, you may e-mail the Judicial Assistant to obtain alternative hearing times, making sure to copy all parties. 

 

TRIALS:

The length of the trial will be determined by the Court at the pre-trial conference.  Attorneys should be prepared to discuss provisions set forth in the pre-trial conference order, which should be submitted to the Judge prior to the pre-trial conference.  Trial dates will be confirmed at the pre-trial conference, and no date or week is guaranteed until that time.  

 

SKYPE APPEARANCES:

‘Skype’ video conferencing technology is now available in our courtroom.  A party, attorney, or a witness who lives over 100 miles from Tampa or a local witness or expert upon which both parties agree may appear by Skype may contact Judge Vance’s Judicial Assistant to arrange for a Skype appearance.  You MUST inform the Judicial Assistant by e-mail of your desire to use Skype and the other party’s agreement to same. Attorneys or pro-se parties appearing by Skype MUST contact the Judicial Assistant at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing to arrange the set-up connection. Any witnesses desiring to appear by Skype must have the party requesting their appearance make arrangements for Skype.


TELEPHONIC APPEARANCES:

Telephonic Appearances are available by approval on a case by case basis. You will need to file a motion and order through JAWS.   (Pro se parties may file by paper through mail or hand delivery).  The motion must state whether or not the non-moving party concurs with or objects to the requested telephonic appearance.  If you are a pro se party representing yourself and wish to appear telephonically, you will need to have a Notary present with you at the time of the hearing to properly identify you, and then swear you in. The individual appearing telephonically is responsible for calling the hearing line at the time of the hearing. That hearing line number is 813-272-8573.

 

SUBMITTING ORDERS:

Orders are accepted either electronically through JAWS or in hard copy form. Incoming Withholding Orders are submitted in hard copy form only. PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT ORDERS USING BOTH METHODS.

SCHEDULING HEARINGS (All scheduling is via email communication only):

The preferred method for scheduling hearings in Division J is by JAWS for any hearing expected to last 30 minutes or less.  For hearings expected to last longer than 30 minutes the preferred scheduling method is by e-mail request to the Court’s Judicial Assistant rather than by telephone. For pro se parties, please contact the Judicial Assistant via e-mail (preferably).  Please remember to copy the opposing party on all e-mails.  The Family Law Division Email Address is famlawdivJ@fljud13.org.

1.     For any scheduling request, the requesting party shall e-mail the Judicial Assistant for hearing time(s) and length of hearing.  Make sure to copy the opposing party in the email.

2.     The Judicial Assistant shall provide a minimum of 2 available dates/times to the requesting party, and will copy the opposing party by “replying to all.” 

3.     If the requesting party sends the dates to the opposing party or attorney (whichever is applicable) by e-mail or facsimile, that responding party or the attorney’s office is responsible for responding with his/her availability within two business days of receiving the request. 

4.     If the responding party or attorney fails to respond within 2 business days of the request, the requesting party may pick the hearing date and time of his/her choice.  Coordination is to be between the parties, not utilizing the Judicial Assistant as a go between.  This option is not available for hearings if the requesting party is attempting to clear the date with the other party or attorney by telephone as there will not be a paper trial of the scheduling attempts.

5.     Only after the Court “CONFIRMS” the date and time of the hearing shall the party file and serve the Notice of Hearing.

6.     If the parties cannot agree on any of the offered dates, parties may ask (once) for a set of new dates.

7.     If the parties cannot chose from the second set of offered dates, they must notify the court of the scheduling impasse.

8.     When the parties impasse, the court will set the hearing date without regard to the schedules of either party or attorney.

 

 

POST JUDGMENT HEARINGS:

  •   All post judgment matters must have an order of referral to the General Magistrate filed at the same time the motion is filed.
  •  All post judgment matters MUST be mediated prior to the scheduling of any hearings.
  •   You must e-mail the Judicial Assistant to schedule post judgment hearings.
  •   Copy of notice and motion need not be delivered to the court.

 

TEMPORARY RELIEF HEARINGS:

MEDIATION IS MANDATORY PRIOR TO TEMPORARY RELIEF HEARINGS: Absent prior leave of Court, Division J requires mediation to have been completed before convening any hearing seeking any form of temporary relief in accordance with Administrative Order 2013-075, § 15. Any party may set or schedule a temporary relief motion for hearing in accordance with the applicable rules and orders governing scheduling of hearings. However, if a mediation conference has not been completed prior to the date and time set for the temporary relief hearing, that hearing will not go forward.

 

1.  IMPORTANT- If the moving party fails to schedule and cooperate in attending mediation prior to the temporary hearing, the hearing WILL BE CANCELLED by the Court.  If the non-moving party is the party not cooperating, that matter will be addressed by the Court at the temporary hearing and sanctions may be imposed.

 

2. At least 48 hours prior to the temporary relief hearing, the moving party will file an original and serve a copy on all parties, including the Judge, a Temporary Relief Hearing Memorandum.  A proposed Parenting Plan is also required if the case involves minor children.

 

EMERGENCY MOTIONS:

1.   No party or attorney should file an emergency motion without first studying Smith v. Crider, 31 F.L.W. D1018 (2d DCA April 7, 2006).

2.   File the original motion with the Clerk of Circuit Court, Edgecomb Courthouse, First Floor, 800 East Twiggs Street, Tampa, FL 33602. DO NOT deliver a copy to the judge. 

3.   The Clerk will bring the court file and the docketed motion to the Judge’s chambers for review.

4.   The Judicial Assistant will fax, e-mail or mail a copy of the Judge’s decision regarding the emergency status of the motion to both parties.

 

REQUIREMENTS - MOTIONS, RESPONSES, AND CASE LAW:

RESPONSES TO MOTIONS AND COPIES OF CASE LAW MUST BE DELIVERED OR FAXED TO THIS COURT FIVE (5) BUSINESS DAYS BEFORE THE HEARING TO ENABLE A REVIEW BY THE COURT.  ANY RESPONSES TO MOTIONS AND COPIES OF CASE LAW DELIVERED OR FAXED TO THIS COURT LESS THAN FIVE (5) BUSINESS DAYS BEFORE THE HEARING WILL NOT BE REVIEWED OR CONSIDERED AT THE HEARING.

 

BEFORE SCHEDULING A HEARING, PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT ALL PARTIES, INCLUDING THE JUDGE HAVE A COPY OF THE MOTION(S) TO BE HEARD.  A HEARING SHOULD NOT TO BE SET UNTIL ALL PARTIES HAVE A COPY OF THE MOTION(S). YOU MAY E-FILE AND ELECTRONICALLY SERVE THE SAID MOTION TO ALL PARTIES. AS LONG AS THE MOTION THAT IS SET FOR A HEARING IS E-FILED, IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO EMAIL THE SAID MOTION TO THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT.  

1st CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE:

Either Party may move the Court for entry of an Order continuing the first case management conference to a later date by sending to the Judge's chambers a jointly-signed statement and Order ratifying same that states:  (1)  Service of Process has been effectuated and an Answer or responsive pleading has been filed; (2)  both parties have exchanged Financial Affidavits and complied with mandatory disclosure requirements;  (3)  if there are minor children, that both parties have completed the parenting course and filed their Certificates of Completion;  (4)  that mediation has been completed or is scheduled and will not be canceled except by Order of Court;  (5)  the date and time of the new Case Management Conference that has been provided by the Judicial Assistant and cleared by both parties, which

conference shall be within 60 days of the originally-scheduled date.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

Review the Requirements for dissolution of marriage.