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General Magistrate Joan Montagno's
Zoom Video Conference Access Information

As a result of COVID-19, there are limitations currently in place on in-person court appearances in the 13th Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County, Florida.  ALL parties scheduled before General Magistrate Joan Montagno shall appear via Zoom Video or Audio Teleconferencing until further notice.

Any party needing the services of an interpreter in a Family Law hearing before General Magistrate Joan Montagno will be required to provide their own interpreter

(Cualquier parte que necesite los servicios de un intérprete en una audiencia de derecho familiar antes del General Magistrado Joan Montagno deberá proporcionar su propio intérprete en cualquier audiencia de Zoom.)

ALL HEARINGS WILL BE DIGITALLY RECORDED, however, if an attorney or party wishes to utilize the services of their own court reporter, they will be required to provide all information necessary for the court reporter to attend the Zoom video conference/hearing.


As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, there are limitations currently in place on in-person court appearances in the 13th Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County, Florida.  ALL parties scheduled before General Magistrate Joan Montagno in Hillsborough County shall appear via Zoom Video or Audio Teleconferencing until further notice. General Magistrate Montagno will be the host of the Zoom proceeding.  There are no fees to attend by Zoom, it is free and easy to use!  

No person will be permitted inside the courthouse at this time.  This includes parties and attorneys.

In order to participate in the hearing by Zoom Video or Audio (Phone), please follow the instructions below:



1.  You can DOWNLOAD the free Zoom App on your smartphone (ANDROID OR APPLE) or computer at prior to your hearing date and time.  However, you are NOT REQUIRED TO DOWNLOAD the free Zoom App to attend!

2.  On the date and time of your hearing listed in the Notice of Hearing/Order, OPEN a web browser of your choice, then ENTER the following information to gain access into the hearing.  The Court’s Zoom link is and Zoom Meeting ID is 324-721-4059.  The Password is 292155. 

3.  Once you connect, please WAIT to be checked in.  You will be placed in a “waiting room” and on mute or silent until your hearing begins.

PROBLEMS CONNECTING TO YOUR HEARING?   If you have problems connecting to a hearing, immediately e-mail the General Magistrate's Assistant, Adrienne Gilbert, DURING YOUR HEARING TIME at for further instructions.

General Magistrate Montagno has enabled the "waiting room" feature on the Zoom platform.  Please understand that the Court is using the same credentials for multiple hearings and when you sign on you may join in the middle of another hearing.  Please keep your microphone muted until you are addressed or until it is time to join your hearing.  If you need to move around prior to your hearing, kindly stop your video feed until the hearing begins.


If you would like to have the Court consider any documents at your hearing, you must file the documents with the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court prior to your hearing AND provide those documents to the opposing party. To file documents, you may provide the documents by mail or through the e-portal. Your documents must contain your case number and instructions that they be filed in your case. For more information on the Hillsborough County Clerk’s address or hours of operation, please visit You may also electronically file the documents through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal at Regardless of the filing method used, the Hillsborough County Clerk of Court must receive your documents at least five (5) days prior to your hearing in order for the documents to be considered at the hearing.

PLEASE NOTE:  Any document filed in the court record becomes a public record, so it is your responsibility to redact any confidential or sensitive information prior to filing (e.g., SSN, bank account #, etc.).


1.  No later than 48 hours prior to the hearing, each party must provide to the Court, and the opposing side, copies of any exhibits, summaries, or case law to be used or referred during the hearing or offered into evidence. No additional documents or exhibits may be emailed to the General Magistrate during the course of the hearing.

2.  Any exhibits shall be pre-marked.

3.  All documents shall be submitted as a PDF file via email to gilberav@fljud13.orgIn the subject line of the email, you must include the style of the case and the case number.

4.  Each exhibit shall be individually attached to an email as a SEPARATE PDF document.

5.  All confidential information shall be redacted by the individual submitting the proposed exhibit (including, but not limited to, information such as account numbers, SSN, dates of birth).

6.  All parties are responsible for securing the attendance of any witnesses they wish to call via Zoom, by providing those witnesses with any and all procedural requirements for attending a Zoom hearing listed herein, as well as the Zoom Meeting ID. 

7.  All parties SHALL reserve and schedule sufficient time for the hearing to be concluded, while affording BOTH sides equal hearing time.  This means that if you believe you need 30 minutes to present your case, you must reserve 60 minutes for your hearing so that each party has an equal amount of time to present their respective cases.

The preferred form of communication for setting hearings is by telephone.

The administrative assistant cannot answer your legal questions and will not explain your situation to the General Magistrate.  You will have the opportunity to do so at your scheduled hearing. 

If you need legal assistance you may visit the Legal Information Center located at 800 E. Twiggs St., Room 101, Tampa, FL 33602.  You may call the Legal Information Center at (813) 864-2280 to obtain office hours. 

All parties should review the current Administrative Order on Domestic Relations/Family Law Procedures which can be accessed by clicking on the link and following the remainder tabs:

 Administrative Orders > Unified Family Court > Domestic Relations/Family Law


All Court proceedings shall be conducted with dignity, decorum, courtesy, and civility.

The use of cellular telephones, pagers, video and voice recording devices, PDAs, and other forms of electronic equipment are prohibited in the hearing rooms. All mobile devices must be turned off prior to entering the hearing room.

Children in Court: Pursuant to Rule 12.407, of the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure: "No minor child shall be deposed or brought to a deposition, to court to appear as a witness or to attend a hearing, or be subpoenaed to appear at a hearing without the entry of a prior order of the court authorizing same, based on good cause shown unless in an emergency situation."

Contact with General Magistrate and Hearing Officers' office: A party is authorized to contact the judicial officer's office by telephone on matters related to the Court's schedule and attendance in Court. The administrative assistant for the General Magistrate cannot give legal advice.

All requests to speak to the General Magistrate on the telephone or have a private conference will be refused.  Letters written to judicial officers which offer or seek to discuss evidence in the case or attempt to influence the judicial officer's decisions in the case are strictly forbidden by rules governing verbal and written communication.

The role, function of, and limitations on General Magistrates is specifically described in Rule 12.490, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.

The role, function of, and limitations on Child Support Hearing Officers is specifically described in Rule 12.491, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.



If a matter is emergency, as defined by case law and the Circuit's Local Rules, then, by definition it is not appropriate for referral to General Magistrate and must be handled by the presiding Circuit Judge for processing and immediate action. If the Circuit Judge deems the issue not an emergency and refers the matter to the General Magistrate, a hearing shall be set in the normal course of business.


Scheduling:  Hearing times for the magistrate are not available in JAWS. You must contact the office by telephone to obtain hearing dates and times from the General Magistrate Assistant.

Please note any hearing greater than two hours requires an Order Setting Pre-trial Final Hearing and Pre-Trial Conference (see pre-trial conference hearings below).

Order of Referral:  All matters must have an Order of Referral to the General Magistrate with the exception of cases that are limited to child support issues only. If you do not have an order of referral, the form can be obtained by clicking on the following link and following the instructions included the form:

Motion for Referral to General Magistrate:

Order of Referral to General Magistrate:


Mediation Requirements: All issues with the exception of Motion(s) for Contempt MUST be mediated prior to the hearing. However, you may schedule a hearing with the Magistrate (for a date and time after mediation) before the mediation is held.

Notice of Hearing: The original of the Notice of Hearing before General Magistrate should be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court by either party at least 5 business days prior to the hearing .  A copy of the Notice of Hearing must be served upon opposing counsel/unrepresented party and a courtesy copy delivered to the Magistrate’s mailbox, located on the fourth floor.  All notices of hearing must be consistent with the current administrative order for Domestic Relations/Family Law Cases.  All pleadings or motions seeking relief must be served on the party or counsel not less than five (5) business days prior to the hearing. If motions or pleadings are not timely served, the court may continue the hearing to a later date.  The Notice of Hearing form can be accessed by clicking on the following link:


Hearing(s)/Trial(s) greater than two hours:  All hearings scheduled for two (2) hours or more may not be canceled without approval of the court, after notice to all parties of record. 

Hearings scheduled for less than 2 hours may be canceled upon 24 hour notice by the moving party or attorney after notifying the opposing party or their counsel and the court. If a hearing needs to be cancelled, the moving party shall also file a Notice of Cancellation with the Clerk of Circuit Court and fax a copy to 813-301-3743.


All hearings scheduled for two hours or more require a pre-trial conference hearing and will be scheduled by order of the court. Said hearing may not be cancelled without prior approval of the court, after notice to all parties of record.

The party/attorney requesting the hearing should file with the Clerk an Order Setting Final Hearing and pretrial Conference order on Post Judgment Relief:


There will be no cross-noticing of hearing time or “piggybacking” one motion upon a previously scheduled motion(s) without timely notice to the parties and the court.

No “piggybacked” motion(s) will be heard unless it is determined by the court that the docket will accommodate the hearing of the additional matter(s) at the scheduled time.


All motions to compel discovery, for compulsory physical examination, and to set case for trial must contain a certificate by the attorney filing such motion that the attorney has discussed the subject matter of the motion with the opposing counsel or pro se litigant and has been unable to reach agreement concerning the disputed discovery or setting of the case for trial, or that opposing counsel or pro se litigant has failed to respond.


Pursuant to Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.545 (e) and Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.460, all motions for continuance must be signed by the litigant requesting the continuance as well as the litigant’s attorney, unless made at trial, or upon good cause shown.


 The party seeking temporary relief must first:

   1.   File with the clerk a motion using the uniform Motion for Temporary Relief     which may be accessed at:

2.   Attach to the motion a proposed temporary time-sharing plan if the case involves minor children.

3.   Attach, if not previously filed, a financial affidavit in compliance with Rule 12.285 (c) (1).

4.   File a notice of hearing reflecting the date and time obtained from the court.

5.   Serve a copy of the above documents on the opposing party; and serve on the opposing party/counsel, but do not file with the clerk, the documents required under Rule 12.285.  Any temporary relief sought by the responding party may be asserted by cross-motion at that time.

Within 10 days after being served with the Motion for Temporary Relief (15 days if service was made by mail), the party against whom the temporary relief was sought will file and serve a response to the motion stating what, if any, temporary relief the responding party contends is appropriate.  When applicable, the responding party will propose an alternate time-sharing plan.     

Temporary relief matters must be mediated prior to being heard by the court. 

If the relief sought includes temporary attorney’s fees, the seeking party must file an attorney’s fee affidavit at least seven business days before the hearing. The attorney’s fee affidavit must set forth fees and costs to date and anticipated hours, fees, and costs reasonably expected to be incurred through the final hearing.

At least 72 hours prior to the scheduled temporary relief hearing, the parties shall exchange exhibits, file and serve a copy of the Temporary Relief Hearing memorandum using the uniform Temporary Relief Hearing memorandum which may be accessed at: 

Exhibits shall be pre-marked for identification and provided to the opposing party or counsel.  The parties shall furnish a complete set of pre-marked exhibits along with an index to the Court at the final hearing.  Exhibits and evidence not clearly and timely disclosed may be excluded at hearing.


It is not the obligation of the Court to furnish a translator in any family division proceedings. If a party or witness requires interpreter services, it is the responsibility of the party to provide a disinterested, Court certified interpreter at their own expense.  The translator may not be a friend or family member.  Parties needing assistance may also contact the Court Interpreter Center at 813-272-5947 to obtain a list of certified interpreters.  Please be certain to make the appropriate arrangements in advance of hearing or non-jury trial.


If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at no cost, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact the ADA Coordinator, Hillsborough County Courthouse, 800 E. Twiggs St., Room 604, Tampa, Florida 33602, (813) 272-7040, at least 7 days before your scheduled court appearance, or immediately upon receiving this notification if the time before the scheduled appearance is less than 7 days; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call 711.  You may also contact ADA services via e-mail at  Please see Thirteenth Judicial Circuit web page for additional information on ADA accommodation.


Telephonic Appearances are approved on a case by case basis. You will need to file a motion with the Clerk of Circuit Court.  The motion must indicate if the parties agree with the motion, or if a party disagrees with the request for telephonic appearance. The individual requesting to appear by phone will need to add their contact number into the proposed order.  If approved, the party appearing by telephone must have a licensed Notary present to administer the oath.  See Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.451. 

A motion for telephonic appearance can be found at:


‘Skype’ video conferencing technology is now available in our courtroom.  A party, attorney, or witness who lives over 100 miles from Tampa, or an agreed upon local witness or expert, may appear by Skype.  Please contact the General Magistrate Assistant to arrange for a SKYPE appearance.  You MUST inform the assistant in writing of your desire to use Skype and the other party’s agreement to same.  Attorneys or Self- Representing Individuals appearing by Skype MUST contact the assistant at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing to arrange the set-up connection.  If a witness is appearing by Skype, the party shall set up and coordinate the Skype appearance. 


Please do NOT upload order in JAWS for the Magistrate to sign.  The General Magistrate does NOT process orders using JAWS. If you are asked to prepare the proposed order, upon completion please e-mail the proposed order to the assistant in WORD format along with a cover letter.