315 Court Street, Room 484

Clearwater, FL 33756



Judicial Practice Preferences

Circuit Family



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.  The Clerk of the Court has a Self Help Program for self represented litigants in the Old Clearwater Courthouse, phone (727) 464-5150, 324 S. Ft Harrison Ave, Clearwater, FL 33756.  Gulfcoast Legal Services can be reached in Clearwater (727) 443-0657 or St. Petersburg (727) 821-0726.  Bay Area Legal Services is available at 1-(800)-625-2257.  Lawyer referral services can be contacted through the Clearwater and St. Petersburg Bar Associations at (727) 461-4880 and (727) 821-5450 respectively.  


Setting Hearing Times:   Motions should be filed with the Clerk of the Court and sent to opposing counsel/self represented party prior to scheduling a hearing.   Contact the Judicial Assistant for dates and times open on the calendar.  Please do not assume that the times given are held they are not and the calendar fills quickly.  A phone message is not sufficient confirmation that you would like one of the available times, you must confirm with the Judicial Assistant.  All hearings must be coordinated with opposing counsel. Your phone calls will be returned in order as soon as possible.  Call volume is high and leaving multiple messages is not helpful in accomplishing this.


Uniform Motion Calendar:   Hearings not anticipated to take more than 10 minutes such as Uncontested Final Hearings, routine Motions to Compel, Motions for Default, Motions to Withdraw, etc. may be set on these calendars.  The UMC is not meant for contested or evidentiary hearings.


Attending hearings by phone:   This may be allowed under certain circumstances.  Refer to Judicial Administration Rule 2.530.


After a hearing is set:  A courtesy copy of the notice of hearing should be sent to the Judicial Assistant.   Please include accurate information in your Notice of Hearing, such as the Judges name, full address of where the hearing will be held, time of the hearing, length of time reserved, and list of the name(s) of the motion(s) to be heard.  If an attorney or self represented party wishes to add, delete, or otherwise change the matters to be heard at a set hearing, the parties/attorneys involved and the Judicial Assistant must be notified and in agreement.   It is preferred that a Notice of Hearing be done even if the hearing was set within the body of an order as it helps keep everyone involved aware and facilitates docketing.  Do not cancel a hearing without notification and agreement of all parties.  The Judicial Assistant must be notified in a timely manner and a Notice of Cancellation of Hearing should be filed with the Court with a courtesy copy sent to the Judicial Assistant.


Pre-trials and Setting Non-Jury Trials:  In most cases a Case Management Conference is necessary to set a Pre-trial Conference and Non-Jury trial.  Contact the Judicial Assistant to request hearing time for a Case Management Conference.   No motions will be heard at the Pretrial conference without prior approval of the Court.


Temporary Hearings:  See Administrative Order 2011-006 PA/PI-CIR regarding mediation requirement.  Hearing time with the Court on temporary matters will not be reserved until a mediation is scheduled.


Emergency Hearings:  Motions are to be submitted to the Court for determination of emergency status. If the division is unavailable, the attorney should contact the Emergency/Duty Judge.  After review, the Court may allow a hearing to be set on an emergency basis, or may seek a written response from the opposing party and rule on the matter without hearing. 


Motions for Re-hearing, Reconsideration, and New Trials:  Such Motions will not be set for hearing without review by the Judge.  Please submit a copy of the Motion to the Judge’s office for entry of an order.  If the Judge finds that a hearing is required, the Judicial Assistant will contact the attorneys’ offices and /or self represented parties to schedule the hearing.


Appearance/Conduct at Hearings:  It is expected that all parties and litigants will adhere to Administrative Order No. 2009-066 PA/PI-CIR  RE: STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL COURTESY FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT.


Testimony from Children:  Testimony from children is not permitted unless the Court grants permission after a hearing on a Motion to Allow Child Testimony.  The Court will not automatically honor stipulations for a child to testify in Court.  Do not bring children to contested hearings without prior approval. 


Substitution of Counsel:  Rule of Judicial Administration 2.505(e)(2) requires that the client agree IN WRITING. Proposed Orders approving stipulation for substitution of counsel without the written consent of the clients will be returned unsigned. 


Withdrawal of Counsel:  The Court will consider proposed orders for withdrawal of counsel if accompanied by stipulations for same signed by all parties. Otherwise a motion and hearing will be required.


Proposed Orders:  Do not send unsigned Proposed Orders to the Clerk of the Court.  Proposed Orders shall be sent to the Judge’s office with a cover letter, which includes the full names of the parties and case number, stating that opposing counsel agrees or objects to the proposed Order, or that opposing counsel was given the opportunity to object to the proposed Order, but did not.  The Court WILL NOT HOLD Orders pending objections.   If the attorneys are unable to agree on wording in an Order, they should each submit their own Order to the Court with a cover letter explaining the objections.  If possible, a transcript of the hearing should be sent along with the Order.  Sufficient copies and stamped addressed envelopes must be provided, if only an original is submitted no copies will be provided.  Proposed Orders should contain no blanks for the Judge to fill in other than the date.  Proposed Orders should have numbered pages and “Done and Ordered” and the Judge’s signature line should not be on a separate page.  THE JUDGE WILL CHANGE ANY LANGUAGE OR AMOUNTS IN THE ORDER THAT SHE DOES NOT FIND APPROPRIATE.







Miscellaneous Practice Tips: 


Discovery cut-off shall be at Pre-trial OR by stipulation of the parties.


When a case has been disposed of, please be sure that a Final Disposition Form is filed.  The Clerk needs this form filed along with any settlement documents (Final Judgment, Voluntary Dismissal, etc.)


If an attorney/self represented litigant anticipates the need to use Skype, video, screens, etc. in the courtroom, it is helpful to all concerned if the Judicial Assistant is made aware of this in advance of the hearing or trial.  If the court technology staff must be contacted at the last minute the delay uses up court time intended for the case in question.