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Procedures/Preferences

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 happens in Court only. CLICK HERE FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION IF YOU ARE REPRESENTING YOURSELF (FAMILY LAW PROCEDURAL INFORMATION FOR SELF-REPRESENTED LITIGANTS)

 

ZOOM HEARINGS

Beginning August 1, 2022 all matters will be returning to In-Person Hearings with the exception of Adoption/TPR Hearings, Initial Case Management Conference’s, Dismissal Docket Hearings, Uniform Motion Calendar, Non-Evidentiary Hearings, Uncontested Hearings and any hearing requiring less than (30) minutes. All Evidentiary Hearings set for (30) minutes or more will be held in-person. Either party may file a motion to appear electronically. We are making every effort to hear cases using technology and creativity.  Family Law Division A is using the Zoom videoconference platform.  You do not need an account to use Zoom and the service is free. The Zoom Meeting ID for Judge Oster is 969-8050-9625. 

 

AVAILABLE SCHEDULING ON JAWS

Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC) five (5) to seven (7) minutes per case.

Attorney CMC Hearings - seven (7) to ten (10) minutes per case. Hearing

time slots listed as: MOTION DOCKET 15 or MOTION DOCKET 30.

 

COMMUNICATION WITH THIS OFFICE

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

 

SCHEDULING GUIDANCE

The preferred method for scheduling in Division A is by JAWS. Anything more than 30 minutes, the preferred method is e-mail request rather than telephone. For any scheduling request, the requesting party should e-mail the Judicial Assistant for hearing time(s) and copy the opposing party. The Judicial Assistant will provide a minimum of two (2) available dates/times to the requesting party, also with a copy to opposing party by “replying to all.” IF the requesting party sends the dates to the opposing party or attorney (whichever is applicable) by e-mail, that responding party or the attorney’s office is responsible for responding with his/her availability within two (2) business days of receiving the request. If the responding party or attorney fails to respond within two (2) business days of the request, the requesting party may pick the hearing date and time of his/her choice.

 

The ability of the requesting party to choose a hearing date of his/her choice is an option only if:

There has been no response from the responding party or attorney within two (2) business days of the request or, the requesting party is not attempting to clear the date with the other party or attorney by telephone, as there will not be a paper trail of the scheduling attempts.

 

Only after the court confirms date in the e-mail, file and serve Notice of Hearing. If the parties cannot agree on, first set of proposed dates/times, they may request a second set of dates/times. If the parties cannot agree upon the second set of dates/times, the parties shall notify the Judicial Assistant of the scheduling impasse no later than two (2) business days of receiving the proposed dates/times. If the parties reach an impasse, the Judge will set the date/time for the hearing or other court appearance without regard to the schedules of either party (or their attorney).

 

Please Note: If the opposing (or non-requesting) party fails to respond within two (2) business days of receipt of the proposed dates/times, the requesting party may select the date/time of his/her choice. The ability of the requesting party to select a date/time of his/her choice is an option ONLY IF there has been no response from the opposing (or nonrequesting) party within two (2) business days of receiving the proposed dates/times AND the requesting party has attempted in good faith to clear the dates/times with the opposing (or non-requesting) party AND has documented the scheduling attempts through e-mail.

 

PLEASE NOTE: RESPONSES TO MOTIONS AND COPIES OF CASE LAW MUST BE DELIVERED OR MAILED TO THE JUDGE’S CHAMBERS THREE (3) BUSINESS DAYS BEFORE THE HEARING TO ENABLE A REVIEW BY THE COURT. ANY RESPONSES TO MOTIONS AND COPIES OF CASE LAW RECEIVED BY THE COURT LESS THAN THREE (3) 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 IS NOT TO BE SET UNTIL ALL PARTIES HAVE A COPY OF THE MOTION(S). IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO EMAIL THE MOTION TO THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT.

 

NOTICES OF HEARING

Notices of hearing must include in the body of the notice the following elements in addition to those required by the applicable rules of procedure and local administrative orders:

1. The specific TITLE of the motion to be heard;

2. The DATE the motion to be heard was filed;

3. The LENGTH OF TIME of the hearing;

4. Zoom information if applicable (including meeting ID, password, and a copy of a link to the Zoom meeting).

 

CONTINUANCES

If a continuance is agreed upon by all parties, contact the Judicial Assistant to remove the hearing and/or trial from the docket. Upload your AGREED proposed Order for continuance to E-portal for electronic signature. Before uploading to E-portal, please insure that the e-mail of all parties associated with the case is listed on JAWS under ‘Associated Parties’. The parties will receive an electronically signed conformed copy of the document.

 

NOTICE OF CANCELLATION/SETTLEMENT

DO NOT CANCEL A HEARING WITHOUT NOTIFICATION AND AGREEMENT OF ALL PARTIES. When the parties agree that a hearing or other court appearance needs to be cancelled or that the parties have reached a settlement in the case, 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 FamLawDivA@fljud13.org.

 

TELEPHONIC/SKYPE APPEARANCE

 

TELEPHONIC

Telephonic appearances are allowed if both parties are in agreement. It is the responsible of the party appearing telephonically to call the courtroom phone line at on the designated date/time at: (813) 307-3228 to be connected to the Courtroom 411.

 

SKYPE Any witness appearing by Skype MUST contact the Judicial Assistant at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing to arrange the set-up connection. The party or witness appearing by Skype or telephonically is responsible for initiating the skype or telephone call on the designated date/time.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any party appearing by skype or telephonically must arrange in advance and ensuring that a state-licensed notary public is present with the party or witness to verify his/her identity.

 

EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS

If you intend to introduce evidence, you must file a notice that clearly indicates your intent. Moreover, exhibit notebooks must be provided in hard copy to the Court at least THREE (3) business days prior to the hearing. If you fail to follow these requirements, you may not be able to introduce your exhibits

 

CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCES

Either party may move the Court for entry of an Order continuing the first Case Management Conference in Family Law Division “A”. The moving party shall submit his/her motion for continuance to the Judge through the Judicial Assistant by e-mail no later than two (2) business days before the scheduled Case Management Conference. The motion shall include the reason(s) for the continuance and a statement jointly-signed by the parties agreeing to the continuance as well as a proposed Order ratifying same. The signed agreement and proposed Order shall confirm the following: (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, both parties have completed the parenting course and filed their certificates of completion with the Clerk of the Court; (4) mediation has been completed or is scheduled and will not be canceled except by Order of the Court; and (5) the date/time of the new Case Management Conference.

 

Please Note: The new Case Management Conference date/time will be provided by the Judicial Assistant and must be cleared by both parties. The new Case Management Conference shall occur within sixty (60) days of the originally-scheduled Case Management Conference.

 

MOTION DOCKET

Division A now offers a MOTION DOCKET for non-post-judgment cases. If your Motion is a post-judgment Motion, IT MUST be referred to the General Magistrate and not scheduled on this new Motion docket. This docket will be available on-line through JAWS (similar to our Open Docket) for you to schedule hearings up to 30 minutes in length. The Motion Docket is for 15- or 30-minute hearings. If you are unable to clear time on an available Motion Docket, you may e-mail the Judicial Assistant to obtain alternative hearing times, cc-ing all parties.

 

ATTORNEY CMC DOCKET

This Docket is used for a Status Conference. This is a multi-case docket, each case is allowed seven (7) to ten (10) minute per case.

 

UMC(UNIFORM MOTION CALENDAR)

This Docket is a multi-case docket and designed for any uncontested matters taking five (5) minutes per case.

 

TEMPORARY RELIEF HEARINGS

Administrative Order 2016-030, § 15. Mediation is mandatory prior to attending hearing. Any party may set or schedule a temporary relief motion for hearing. If the moving party fails to schedule and/or cooperate in attending mediation prior to the temporary relief hearing, the hearing WILL BE CANCELLED by the Judge.

 

If the opposing (or non-moving) party fails to cooperate in attending mediation, the issue shall be addressed by the Judge at the temporary relief hearing where possible sanctions could be imposed.

 

At least two (2) business days prior to the scheduled temporary relief hearing, the moving party shall file the original Temporary Relief Hearing Memorandum with the Clerk of the Court and serve a copy on all parties, as well as deliver a copy to the Judge. A proposed Parenting Plan is also required if the case involves minor child(ren).

 

Please Note: Mediation is MANDATORY prior to temporary relief hearings. Absent prior leave of Court, mediation must be completed before convening a hearing seeking any form of temporary relief in accordance with Administrative Order 2016-030, § 15. Any party may schedule a temporary relief hearing in accordance with the applicable rules and orders governing the scheduling of hearings.

 

Please Note: Before scheduling a hearing, the moving party shall electronically file and serve the motion on the opposing (or non-moving) party. A hearing on the motion shall NOT be scheduled until all parties have a copy of the motion and the opposing party’s response, if any, to the motion. A copy of the motion, the response to motion and any supporting case law shall be submitted to the Judicial Assistant either by mail or hand delivery, but not both, at least three (3) business days before the scheduled hearing in order to be reviewed by the Judge.

 

EMERGENCY MOTIONS

No party should file an emergency motion without first reviewing Smith v. Crider, 31 F.L.W. D1018 (2d DCA April 7, 2006). The moving party should file the original Emergency Motion with the Clerk of the Court, Edgecomb Courthouse, First Floor, 800 East Twiggs Street, Tampa, Florida 33602.

 

Please Note: Do not hand-deliver a copy of the Emergency Motion to the Judge’s chambers. A Deputy Clerk will bring the court file and the Emergency Motion to the Judge’s chambers for review. Once the Judge has reviewed the court file and the Emergency Motion, the Judicial Assistant will e-mail or mail a copy of the Judge’s ruling on the Emergency Motion to both parties. If a hearing is required, the Judicial Assistant will coordinate by email hearing dates/times with the parties.

 

TRIALS

Any trial request for over three (3) hours must be set for a Case Management Conference. The parties can schedule on JAWS under the dropdown of “Case Management Conference”. Then e-Mail the Judicial Assistant a copy of the Notice of Hearing to: FamLawDivA@fljud13.org. Once a pre-trial/trial date has been agreed upon, it is the responsibility of the party(s) to prepare the Order setting trial and upload it through E-portal for the Judge's signature. The trial Order form can be found on this website under “forms”.

 

NOTE: A Pre-Trial Memorandum SHALL be electronically filed and served on each party by the other party, as well as a copy of both delivered to the Judge, at least three (3) business days prior to the Pre-Trial Conference.  The parties should be prepared to discuss provisions set forth in the Pre-Trial Memorandums and Pre-Trial Conference Order. The date/time of the trial (or final hearing) will be determined by the Judge at the Pre-Trial Conference.

 

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.

 

SUBMITTING PROPOSED ORDERS

Proposed Orders that are agreed upon by the parties can be submitted to the Judge in Family Law Division “A” either by mail or electronically through the E-portal as a “PDF” formatted document. PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT BOTH WAYS. If a party submits a proposed Order by mail, please include a cover letter containing explanatory information, copies of the Order and

self-addressed envelopes for all parties. Proposed Orders that are NOT agreed upon by the parties, in other words, competing Orders, should be submitted to the Judicial Assistant by e-mail and attached as a “WORD” formatted document, which will be forwarded to the Judge upon

receipt of both proposed competing Orders. Incoming Withholding Orders can now be uploaded into E-portal. If one of the parties, represents themselves, the Order can still be uploaded into the

E-portal. However, if the individual that is representing themselves does not have an email address associated with the case, then you will be responsible for mailing them a copy of the order, if you chose to upload the order into the E-portal for electronic signature.


FINAL DISPOSITION FORMS

A Final Disposition Form must be submitted at the time of submission of a proposed Final Order or Final Judgment in order to close the case in Family Law Division “A”.

 

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

Review the Requirements for Dissolution of Marriage.