A hearing is where a judge, a magistrate, or another court officer hears about your case and usually about a specific matter. In family law cases, this could be a hearing on a Motion or a Final Hearing, where you are actually getting divorced.
If you are the party with a Motion to be heard, make sure your Motion is properly filed with the Court and properly served on the other party.
- When you have a Motion, you properly file it with the Court when you present the original document to the Clerk’s office. Some counties allow you to register to file your documents electronically when you do not have an attorney. If you registered to do this, filing your document electronically and receiving the acceptance email from the clerk’s office is considered properly filing the document.
- When you have a Motion, you properly serve it on the other party when you provide a copy to them or their attorney. If they have an attorney and you are using electronic filing, the attorney will most likely receive service of the Motion when you electronically file it with the clerk. If the other party does not have an attorney, you will need to mail a copy to them.
- ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS – Make a copy of the Motion and keep it for yourself. You will need to reference it and have it with you on the day of the hearing.
- Remember – the Motion you filed must be received by the other party of their attorney AT LEAST five business days prior to the hearing.
Now that your Motion is properly filed or if this is for your final hearing, you will need to call the Judge’s office to request a final hearing date and time. In Pinellas County, the number to call is 727-582-7200. Your court records will be viewed for completeness and you will either be given a court calendar date or you will be given further instructions for setting your hearing.
- When calling to set a hearing, you should have the following information available:
- Your case number
- The name/title of the Motion you would like to be heard (or say that the hearing is for a Final Hearing)
- Whether the other party has a lawyer; and
- The amount of time you believe a hearing would take
- A Motion usually takes 15-30 minutes;
- A Final Hearing where you and the other party have agreed to everything usually takes 15 minutes;
- A Final Hearing where you and the other party need the judge to decide what will happen and you do not have children usually takes about 60 minutes; or
- A Final Hearing where you and the other party need the judge to decide what will happen and you have children usually takes about 2-3 hours.
- To set a hearing date and time, you will usually have to make a good-faith effort to coordinate a mutually convenient date and time for you and the other party.
- Some Courts may have additional procedural requirements that you must follow when you notify the court and other parties of your scheduled hearing.
Anytime you set a hearing before a judge, you must send notice of the hearing to the other party.
- Make sure your notice of the hearing is properly filed with the Court and properly served on the other party.
- Original filed with Clerk’s Office
- Copy to other party or their attorney (must be received 5 days prior to the hearing date).
- Copy for you
- If you do not properly complete the Notice of Hearing, properly filing it and properly serving it, your hearing could be delayed.
- Forms for you to use:
- Notice of Hearing – https://www.flcourts.org/content/download/403129/3457108/923.pdf
- Notice of Hearing before a Child Support Enforcement Hearing Officer – https://www.flcourts.org/content/download/403123/3457072/921.pdf
- Notice of Hearing before a General Magistrate – https://www.flcourts.org/content/download/403121/3457060/920c.pdf