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The preferred form of communication for setting hearings or general inquiries is by email.

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 office to obtain office hours by calling: (813) 864-2280.

For all cases all parties should review the current Administrative Order-Domestic Relations/Family Law information and procedures which can be accessed by clicking on the link and following the remainder tabs:

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


Notice of Policy Re: In-Person vs. Remote Proceedings:


Please be advised that for the remainder of June 2021, all scheduled proceedings will be conducted pursuant to the “Zoom” Orders already entered in each scheduled case.


For all hearings scheduled to occur in July 2021 or thereafter, our scheduling policy will be consistent with Adminstrative Order S-2021-041, dated June 16, 2021.  Specifically,


1.       All hearings for 30 minutes or less (except for Pretrial Conferences) shall be conducted remotely via our Zoom platform.  A separate Zoom order will be generated and entered by the Court accordingly.


2.       All evidentiary hearings for more than 30 minutes should be conducted as in-person hearings, (see Adm.Ord. S-2021-041, Para. 2.(N.)), subject to the following considerations:


a.       Remote Hearings On Stipulation of All Parties:  If, at least 7 days before a scheduled hearing, all parties to a case notify the Magistrate’s assistant that they wish to proceed on the Magistrate’s Zoom platform, the hearing will be conducted remotely.


b.      Remote Hearings On Motion of Any Party: On the motion of either party, and upon good cause shown, the Magistrate may require that an evidentiary hearing be conducted remotely.  Any such motion should be provided to the Magistrate’s assistant and served on all other parties at least 7 days before the scheduled hearing at issue, and the motion will be considered without a hearing unless a hearing on the motion is timely requested by any interested party.


Any questions or concerns regarding this policy should be directed to Denisse Rivera, Administrative Assistant to Magistrate Wartenberg, by email at, or by telephone at # (813) 272-5351.


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

The use of cellular telephones, pagers, iPods, video and voice recording devices, PDAs and other forms of electronic equipment are prohibited in the hearing rooms. All cellular telephones and pagers must be turned off prior to entering the hearing room. Failure to comply with this order may result in the initiation of contempt proceedings against you by the Court.

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' offices. A party is authorized to contact the judicial officer's office by telephone or email on matters related to the Court's schedule and attendance in Court. The General Magistrate Administrate Assistant cannot give legal advice.

All requests to speak to the judicial officers on the telephone or have a private conference will be refused. Letters written to the 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 ex parte 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 it should be referred to the presiding Circuit Judge for processing and immediate action. If the Circuit Judge deems the issue not an emergency and refers it to a General Magistrate, it shall be set in the normal course.


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

Contact General Magistrate Administrative Assistant for details (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 some exception 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 Notice of Hearing Before General Magistrate .  A copy of the Notice of Hearing must be served upon opposing counsel/unrepresented party and a courtesy copy faxed to 813-301-3737 or 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: Notice of Hearing Before General Magistrate


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 less than 2 hours may be canceled upon 24 hours’ notice by the attorney or party scheduling them after notifying the opposing party or their counsel and the court. If a hearing needs to be cancelled, the party scheduling the hearing shall also file a Notice of Cancellation with the Clerk of Circuit Court and fax a copy to 813-301-3737.


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 and has been unable to reach agreement concerning the disputed discovery of setting of the case for trial, or that opposing counsel 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 (c) (2)-(4). 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 further deliver a complete set of pre-marked exhibits along with an index to the Court no later than five (5) days before 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 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 you, 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."


Telephonic Appearances are on a case by case basis. You will need to file a motion with the Clerk of Circuit Court (Pro Se by paper, mail or hand delivery). In the motion, it needs to state all parties’ position. The party appearing by telephone will need to have a licensed Notary present to administer the oath. The individual requesting to appear by phone will need to add their contact number into the proposed order.  See Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.451.


‘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 Magistrate Johnson’s Assistant to arrange for same.  You MUST inform the Assistant by e-mail of your desire to use Skype and the other party’s agreement to same. Attorneys or Self- Representing Individual's appearing by Skype MUST contact the Assistant at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing to arrange the set-up connection. Any Witness's that are appearing by Skype, please have the party set up your Skype appearance for you.


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.