Honorable Kevin Bruning

Circuit Court Judge

Contact Information

Judge Kevin Bruning

Judicial Service

  • Circuit Court Bench, January 2021


  • JD, Stetson University College of Law, 2000
Judicial Assistant
(941) 749–3621; Please read the requirements prior to calling.
Inquiries About Cases, Orders
Before contacting the Judicial Assistant about the status of a case or pending order, attorneys and their staff should consult the Manatee Clerk’s online docket.
Division Email
The Division Email is FamilyDiv3@jud12.flcourts.org. You must comply with the rules regarding ex parte communications. Please place the case number in the subject line. Pro se litigants may only use the division email with the Court’s permission. Pro se litigants must follow the Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s rules for pro se parties.
Manatee County Judicial Center
Physical Address
1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 3000, Bradenton, FL 34206
Office Hours
8 am to 4:30 pm; closed for lunch Noon-1 pm
Proceedings are held in Courtroom 3D at the Manatee County Judicial Center.
Notice to the public: The Code of Judicial Conduct governing behavior by judges forbids the Judges of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit to discuss pending cases with the public. Please do not call or email the Court expecting to speak with a Judge about any case. The Court is only allowed to consider arguments made in the courtroom and in documents properly filed by actual parties in the case as authorized by law and the Rules of Court. The Court cannot ethically read or consider any other opinions or arguments about the case. Communications that do not meet these legal requirements cannot be forwarded to the Judges.

Requirements & Information

Standards of Professionalism

Judge Bruning expects all attorneys who appear to know and adhere to the Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s Standards of Professionalism, also available on the websites of the Manatee County Bar Association and the Sarasota County Bar Association.

A. Remote Appearance

All hearings must be scheduled for in person hearings unless approved by court order. A motion must be filed and sent to chambers to get special permission to appear via zoom.

Zoom Credentials. Meeting ID: 985 1948 3886; Password: 669888; Audio Only: 17866351003

The Notice of Hearing for hearings by Zoom must contain the correct Zoom credentials and specific language which can be found on Judge Bruning's Zoom Information page. Please see instructions for specific hearing types before scheduling a hearing.

Zoom Platform

Judge Bruning “hosts” the video/telephone conferences so there is no need to set up your own. Please visit the Public Court Hearings page for Zoom log on credentials and procedures, including requirements for noticing a Zoom hearing, Zoom etiquette.

The Remote Courtroom is still a public Courtroom. Unless you are unable, the Court expects that you attend the Remote hearing with your camera on and that you conduct yourself professionally. All parties will be in appropriate courtroom attire and conduct themselves as they would in the courtroom.

B. Hearing Procedures

Judicial Automated Calendaring System

Unless otherwise noted in these Requirements, all hearings should be scheduled through the Judicial Automated Calendaring System (JACS).

If the title or subject matter of the motion is not listed in the drop-down menu of choices, select “Unlisted Motion.” In the “Notes” section, you must type in the complete and exact title of your motion and the date the motion was filed with the Clerk.

If multiple motions are being scheduled for the same time slot, the “Notes” section must contain the complete and exact title of each motion and the date that each motion was filed with the Clerk.

Any “Unlisted Motion” not specifically described in the “Notes” section will not be heard.

Hearing Times (5, 15, 30, 60 mins.)

Judge Bruning’s available hearing times on JACS run 5, 15, 30, and 60 minutes. Hearings are limited to the time reserved. The scheduling party shall confer with the opposing counsel/party to agree on the total time required for the hearing. If the scheduling party is unable to confer or agree with the opposing counsel/party, the scheduling party should schedule the hearing to give the opposing counsel/party an equal amount of time to present to the Court.

Back-to-back hearing times shall not be blocked in order to acquire a longer block of hearing time for a single motion without prior consent of the Court. Any hearing scheduled in this manner without consent will be cancelled without notice by the Court.

Five-minute time slots should be used for non-evidentiary motions that are either uncontested or that can be heard within a short time span such as Motions to Withdraw, Motions for Judicial Default, Motions to Dispense with Mediation, and Uncontested Final Hearings.

Extended Hearings (Over 60 minutes)

A hearing, including a hearing for Temporary Relief, that requires more than 60 minutes, is considered an Extended Hearing. In order to schedule an Extended Hearing, send an email to Family Division 3, copy opposing counsel/party. The email should contain: the case number, title of the motion, how much time is being requested, and specific details (issues, evidence, witnesses, etc.) explaining why more than 60 minutes are required to hear the motion.

Pre-Hearing Memorandum

In order for the Court to be prepared, for any motions set for 30 minutes or less parties are encouraged to file pre-hearing memorandums. For hearings over 30 minutes, pre-hearing memorandums are mandatory. Parties are encouraged to submit the PHM at least two (2) business days before the hearing. A sample Pre-Hearing Memorandum is available on the Division webpage.

Parties may also want to consider submitting a hearing packet/binder as described in section “E. Courtesy Copies”.

Hearing Packets and Binders

When parties submit hearing packets or binders, they should not be filed with the Clerk of Court. Rather, they should be sent directly to the Judge’s chambers via hand-delivery, U.S. mail, or other standard delivery service.

In order to make the best use of the Court’s limited hearing time and allow the Judge to adequately prepare, a hearing packet or binder could include the following items:

  • a copy of the Notice of Hearing;
  • a copy of the Motion to be heard;
  • legible copies of exhibits and documents expected to be identified or introduced;
  • a memorandum of law with facts and law supporting the party’s positions;
  • a proposed Order on the Motion, if possible; and
  • copies of case law with the relevant portions highlighted or otherwise marked.

Pursuant to F.S. 61.13001(10), an evidentiary hearing or nonjury trial on a pleading seeking temporary or permanent relief filed under F.S. 61.13001 shall be accorded priority on the court’s calendar.

Cross-Noticing, Substituting, and Piggybacking Motions

Once a motion is scheduled, no other motions may be added to the hearing time, cross-noticed for the same hearing time, or substituted in place of a cancelled or withdrawn motion without prior approval of the non-moving party and the Court.

Cancellation of Hearings

A significant number of hearings are cancelled at the last minute. This results in lost opportunities for other parties to have their important matters heard.

If a hearing is to be cancelled, the cancelling party should immediately:

  1. log into JACS and cancel the hearing;
  2. file a Notice of Cancellation with the Clerk of Court; and
  3. send a copy of the Notice to the Court, all parties, and affected non-parties.

If JACS will not authorize a cancellation, the party should immediately:

  1. contact the judicial assistant by telephone and email;
  2. file a Notice of Cancellation with the Clerk; and
  3. send a copy of the Notice to the Court, all parties, and affected non-parties.

The filing of a Notice of Cancellation with the Clerk or via the e-Filing Portal does not cancel the hearing on JACS.

C. Communications with the Court

Email is strictly a method of communicating basic information and sending documents and is not a medium to state a position, make an argument, or attempt to persuade the Court on a substantive or procedural matter. Emails to the judicial assistant should be devoid of information or statements that are unnecessary, superfluous, irrelevant, or adversarial. Arguments should be confined to letters, motions, memoranda, and legal documents attached to the email.

Communications sent to the Family Law Division 3 email shall comply with all rules and requirements governing contact with the Court including ex parte communication.

D. Submission of Orders

Please do not submit a proposed order until all parties have reviewed and approved the proposed order. The Court does not allow litigation by letter or email. If the parties cannot agree on an issue, the appropriate motion should be filed and set for hearing. The Court encourages all proposed orders (and relevant documents) be sent electronically to the ePortal system. Final Judgments of Dissolution send in Word format to Family Division 3. All parties must be cc’d for the document to be reviewed. The subject line should contain the case number, name and relevant matter: 2022 DR 001234 – Doe v. Doe – Final Judgment.

‘do nots’
  • Include any unnecessary headers or footers (e.g., firm names) within the proposed Order
  • Submit consolidate forms. All Stipulations (once e-filed) shall be submitted with the proposed order as its own document.
  • Email a directive such as “hold this proposed order for x days for an objection to be lodged”. If the paperwork has not been reviewed by all parties, it should not be sent to the Court.
  • Use the email and send identical paperwork via U.S. Mail If an order is submitted electronically, the Judicial Assistant will serve the Order on the parties via email.

Please make sure the certificate of service is completed and includes all email addresses the order should be sent to. If additional U.S. mail copies need to be served, please modify the certificate of service accordingly for the movant to complete such actions.

Agreed to Disagreement (Form)

The Court expects that you will only submit a proposed order when all attorneys or parties agree on the form. If the agreement is not evident in the Motion and proposed Order, the party must submit documentation. If there is a disagreement on the form, or an attorney does not respond within a reasonable period of time, you may then send the proposed order with a concise statement identifying the disagreement and the steps you took. The opposing attorney may submit at the same time an alternate proposed order. Please do not email a directive such as “hold this proposed order for x days for an objection to be lodged.” Not Agreed To/ Objections If a motion is not agreed to or is objected to, then a hearing must be set. Please do not send packets to the Court in these situations until a hearing is set.

Proposed Orders – Through the Portal

Effective May 2, 2022, unless good cause is shown, proposed orders are required to be submitted electronically through the statewide Portal whenever feasible. See AO: 2022-1.2.

Requirements for Submitting Proposed Orders Through the Portal

Please read carefully so that your order is not rejected. Please include email addresses on the certificate of service.

Proposed Orders submitted through the “Proposed Documents” feature of the Portal are electronically transmitted to Judge Bruning. Proposed orders submitted to the judge or magistrate will not be filed in the court file. The proposed order must be submitted electronically through the Portal in Word (.docx) format. If not submitted in Word format, it will be rejected.

Proposed orders should conclude with the following language: “done and ordered in Chambers, Manatee County, Florida.” Do not include a date; the date is included with the judge’s electronic signature. Please leave adequate room in the document for the judge’s electronic signature. Cover letters must be submitted through the Portal in PDF/A format. All proposed orders submitted through the Portal to judges and magistrates in Manatee County require a cover letter. If a cover letter is not included, it will be rejected. Any ancillary documents related to the proposed order (copy of the motion, case law, legal memorandums, etc.) may be attached to the cover letter in PDF/A format.

Motions and proposed orders must be submitted through the Portal as separate documents. Combined motion/proposed orders in the same document are not permitted. Parties shall only submit a proposed order when all parties agree to the form. If there is a disagreement on the form, or an attorney does not respond within a reasonable period of time, you may then file the proposed order through the Portal with a cover letter concisely stating the disagreement or steps you took to confer with the opposing attorney. The opposing attorney may submit a competing order, also indicating in the cover letter that the attorneys are not in agreement.


The following items should be sent to Family Division 3:

  • Quadro
  • IRA Transfer
  • WIO/IWO.
  • Final Judgments should be sent in Word format

Pro se litigants are encouraged, but not required, to submit proposed orders through the Portal. Pro se litigants are required to provide an email address pursuant to Rule 2.516, Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration, to receive signed orders electronically. Pro se litigants or attorneys whom have shown good cause, may submit proposed orders electronically in Word format only to Family Division 3. Please do not use this email for any other purpose and please do not copy the judicial assistant on the email.

E. Courtesy Copies

Courtesy copies must be received by the Court at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. Please mail, hand deliver, or another delivery service.

Hearing Packets and Binders

When parties submit hearing packets or binders for evidentiary hearings, they should not be filed with the Clerk of Court. Rather, they should be sent directly to the Judge’s chambers via hand-delivery, U.S. mail, or other standard delivery service.

In order to make the best use of the Court’s limited hearing time and allow the Judge to adequately prepare, a hearing packet or binder could include the following items:

  • a copy of the Notice of Hearing;
  • a copy of the Motion to be heard;
  • legible copies of exhibits and documents expected to be identified or introduced;
  • a memorandum of law with facts and law supporting the party’s positions;
  • a proposed Order on the Motion, if possible; and
  • copies of case law with the relevant portions highlighted or otherwise marked.

Pursuant to F.S. 61.13001(10), an evidentiary hearing or nonjury trial on a pleading seeking temporary or permanent relief filed under F.S. 61.13001 shall be accorded priority on the court’s calendar.

F. Emergency & Other Urgent Matters

Parties represented by counsel shall attempt in good faith to resolve or mediate emergency/expedited matters and submit stipulations, if at all possible.

Motions seeking Emergency/Expedited consideration must be filed with the Clerk and served on the opposing party and any affected non-party. A copy of the motion requesting emergency/expedited hearing time should also be sent directly to the Court. If a party or affected non-party is not noticed, the motion must clearly and specifically explain why, including efforts made to locate and notice the party or affected non-party. The motion shall be detailed, including the specific relief sought and the amount of hearing time requested.

Ex parte Relief

If a party seeks ex parte consideration and relief in an emergency/expedited motion, the motion shall give citation to the statute, rule, or case law that allows a party to seek ex parte relief. The Court will review the motion and determine whether an emergency/expedited hearing is warranted and if ex parte relief is appropriate.

The “Emergency Filing” radio button on Florida’s E-Filing Portal does not cause the filing to be treated as an Emergency for e-filing purposes, and parties should send a copy of the “emergency” filing directly to the Court for consideration.

G. Exhibits for Evidentiary Proceedings

Exhibits and evidence should be pre-marked BEFORE the hearing or trial begins.

So that evidence is filed in the correct case, exhibit labels should have the following information legibly printed on them:

  • the designation of the party moving the item into evidence as reflected on the initial pleading in the case (i.e., P=Petitioner, R=Respondent, H=Husband, W=Wife, F=Father, M=Mother, etc.);
  • a numbering and lettering system that clearly identifies each, individual exhibit or piece of evidence from another (i.e., 1, 2a, 2b, Composite 3, etc.);
  • the date the exhibit is entered into evidence, if known ahead of time; and
  • the case number (i.e., 22DR2222).

H. Pretrial Procedures & Conferences

CMC, PTC and Trial Scheduling

Upon receipt of a Notice That Case is At Issue, the Court will send out an order setting a Case Management Conference. Case Management Conferences will take place on Tuesdays at 9:00 am. Trials will be scheduled for a trial week on the Court’s Trial Docket. A mandatory Pretrial Conference will be scheduled on a Tuesday 10:00 am. the week prior to trial.

Bring calendars to Court. Attorneys and parties should bring or have access to their personal and professional calendars at every court appearance in case the matter must be rescheduled or continued.

Pretrial Conference

Appearance at Pretrial Conference is mandatory for at least one attorney of record and for unrepresented parties. If an attorney of record is unable to attend the mandatory Pretrial Conference, the coverage attorney must be sufficiently familiar with the case to answer the Court’s questions and shall have the authority to enter into binding stipulations and agreements.

No case shall be set for a final hearing/trial without going through this process, except when a Marital Settlement Agreement has been agreed to by both parties, is fully executed, and is being presented to the Court for ratification.

I. Setting Case for Trial

Notice that Case is At Issue

Once the case is At Issue, either party may file a “Notice That Case is At Issue and Ready for Trial” with the Clerk and send a copy directly to the judge’s office.

The Notice shall indicate:

  • the issue(s) to be tried, including relevant pleadings;
  • a realistic estimate as to how much time is required for trial; and
  • whether the parties object to the trial being heard by the Magistrate.

Trial weeks

Trials will be scheduled on a one-week trial docket, with a scheduling conference a week before the trial week.

Pre-Trial Memorandum

In all cases, parties shall confer at least ten (10) days prior to trial and complete a Joint Pre-Trial Memorandum. If the parties are unable to complete a Joint Pre-Trial Memorandum, they shall certify they have attempted and failed. Upon certifying failure to complete a Joint Pre-Trial Memorandum, each party shall complete his or her own Pre-Trial Memorandum. The Pre-Trial Memorandum shall have attached a fully executed Financial Affidavit for each party, a child support guideline worksheet where applicable and an Equitable Distribution Matrix. Documents are available at either www.jud12.flcourts.org or www.flcourts.gov.


Trials are not continued by stipulation until a motion or stipulation stating the need for the continuance are received by the Court, the Court has reviewed same and the Judicial Assistant has notified the parties after the Court has made a determination.

Pursuant to Rule 1.440(b) a “notice for trial” announces that the action is at issue and “ready to be set for trial.” Continuances to complete discovery or for other reasons that suggest that the action is not ready for trial at the time the “notice of trial” was filed and served will be strongly disfavored and may result in it not being placed on a trial docket.

Pursuant to Rule 2.545(e), Florida Judicial Administration Rules, and Rule 1.460 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, motions for continuance shall be in writing and must be signed by the party, not just their counsel. The Court must approve stipulations to continue a trial, once the cause has been set on the trial docket.


Mediation is required prior to trial. Should a party desire NOT to participate in mediation, a motion will need to be filed and a hearing held.


The judge’s office shall be contacted immediately once a settlement has been reached.

Final Judgments

No Final Judgment after trial shall be submitted unless specifically requested by the Court. When requested, proposed Final Judgments shall be submitted in Word format.

Backup Trials

At the Court’s discretion, cases may be set as a backup to any other, scheduled trial. Backup cases should be ready to go on short notice, and other pre-trial requirements (i.e., Pretrial Statement) will apply to back-up trials.

In order to be placed on the docket as a backup trial, parties must select a backup trial date at the Case Management Conference or in the Joint Stipulation for Trial Date. If the parties’ case is not reached as the backup trial, the parties should be prepared to go forward with trial during their stipulated or assigned trial period.

Pretrial Statement

At the Pretrial Conference, the parties shall submit a Joint Pretrial Statement to the Court. Several variations of a Pretrial Statement can be found on the Divisions webpage.

If the parties are unable to complete a Joint Pretrial Statement, each party shall submit their own Pretrial Statement to the Court at the Pretrial Conference.

Every Pretrial Statement shall have attached an updated, fully executed Financial Affidavit for each party (or for the submitting party), a child support guideline worksheet, where applicable, and an Equitable Distribution Matrix showing the proposed distribution of assets and liabilities to each party. Documents are available on the Divisions webpage or on the Florida Courts website.

J. Preferred Division Forms

On the Documents page, find links to Administrative Orders, Court Forms, External Resources, Guardian ad Litem Forms, and Rules & Procedures.

K. Other Division Procedures

Special Interrogatories

General Information

The Court accepts Special Interrogatories except in matters where sole parental responsibility is awarded. Special Interrogatory forms and instructions can be found on the Divisions webpage.

Required Documents

A Special Interrogatories checklist must be completed and sent to the Judge’s chambers with the following documents[1]:

  • Cover letter explaining case status and agreement of opposing counsel/party;
  • Fully executed Special Interrogatories;
  • Legible copy of the driver's license or affidavit of residency for the party signing the interrogatories proving that the party was a Florida resident for at least six months prior to filing date;
  • Proposed Final Judgment with sufficient copies and postage pre-paid envelopes for the Court to send conformed copies. If copies and envelopes are not provided, the original will be scanned and emailed back to the parties;
  • Fully executed Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA);
  • Original and any supplemental pleadings, including Petitions, Answers, Counter- Petitions, and Waivers;
  • Financial affidavits, waiver of mandatory disclosure clause in MSA, or separate waivers. The cover letter must indicate which of these is applicable in the case. If the waiver is in the MSA, the cover letter should indicate the page and paragraph where the waiver can be found; and
  • If minor children are involved: a fully executed Parenting Plan that, at a minimum, complies with F.S. 61.13(2)(b); Parenting class Certificates of Completion for both parties; and UCCJEA.
  1. In lieu of sending copies of a listed document, the filing date of the document can be indicated on the checklist so as to allow the Court to quickly search the court file and review the document. If you choose this option, you need only send to the Court copies of; the cover letter; the Special Interrogatories; the Special Interrogatories checklist; a proposed Final Judgment; and a legible copy of the driver’s license or identification card. Copies of drivers’ licenses and identification cards will be destroyed.

Reserving an Interpreter

The responsibility for scheduling an interpreter rest solely with the person in need of interpreting services. The Court does not automatically schedule interpreters. Interpretation services can be requested by telephone, email, or submission of the online request form. Each court event must be scheduled separately with the interpreter’s office. Requests for court interpreters should be made at least five (5) business days in advance of the scheduled court event. Requests made with less than five (5) business days’ notice may not be accommodated. In cases where interpreting services are required for languages other than Spanish, additional time may be necessary to arrange for a qualified interpreter or a telephonic interpreting service may be used.

Inmate Appearances For inmates in Manatee County custody

The scheduling party is responsible for notifying the judicial assistant by email three (3) business days prior to a hearing if an inmate needs to be available by videoconference, telephone or transported from the jail. Failure to notify the judge’s office may require cancellation of the hearing.

Inmates in custody outside of Manatee County

It is the responsibility of the party to make arrangements for an inmate’s availability, whether in person or by telephone.


Final Injunction Hearings Requiring More than 30 Minutes

Depending on the Court’s schedule a final injunction hearing that requires more than 30 minutes may be rescheduled to an afternoon hearing time. To avoid waiting and possibly having to appear multiple times, an attorney representing a party in an injunction case should contact the Judicial Assistant before the hearing date to ask about rescheduling.

Hearings to Dissolve, Modify, or Extend Injunctions

Hearings on motions related to injunctions are scheduled through the Judge’s judicial assistant, not on JACS. Any hearing related to an injunction that is scheduled on JACS will be cancelled by the Court. Parties may contact the judicial assistant via email to obtain available hearing times.

Notice of Appearance Required

Attorneys are required to file a Notice of Appearance or Limited Notice of Appearance if they intend to represent a party in an injunction case.


When a Motion for Temporary Relocation is filed with the Clerk, a copy of the Motion for Temporary Relocation must simultaneously be sent to the Court, other parties, and any affected non- parties. Counsel must also provide the Court with a notice to set the matter for nonjury trial.

Withdrawal of Counsel

Pursuant to Rule 2.505, Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, motions to withdraw must be set for hearing with notice provided to all parties.

In lieu of a hearing, counsel may submit to the Judge for review and consideration, with copies to opposing parties:

  • a stipulation to withdraw signed by the attorney and the client, and
  • a proposed order that includes the client’s current or last known physical address, mailing address, and email address, if available

Discovery Motions: General Information

All discovery related issues such as compel, contempt re: discovery order, extend time, protective order, objection to interrogatories, objection to production, quash, sanctions re: discovery matters, and any additional discovery-related motion not listed; as well as motions directed to the pleadings, such as amend, strike, default, dismiss, intervene, set aside, etc. shall be scheduled before General Magistrate Paul Hudson. Discovery issues shall be in compliance with Local Rule 5. The scheduling attorney shall submit an Order of Referral to General Magistrate, pursuant to Fla.Fam.L.R.P.

Mediation: General Information

Before mediation is ordered, each party must have filed with the Clerk a financial affidavit and Parenting Course Certificate of Completion, unless not required by statute or rule or waived by the Court. Failure to provide statutorily mandated financial disclosures three (3) business days prior to mediation may result in sanctions and the cancellation of the mediation session.

When Mediation is Required

Parties are required to mediate all contested matters or issues before a motion for temporary relief is heard and prior to trial, except when excused by the Court. See “When Mediation is Not Required.”

When Mediation is Not Required

Uncontested causes of action (i.e., name change, uncontested dissolution, when respondent has been defaulted, etc.).

  • When the Court waives mediation, upon verified motion and hearing, because of a hardship, emergency, or history of domestic violence between the parties that would compromise the mediation process.
  • Issues referred to the Magistrate for which the Magistrate does not require mediation.

Family Mediation Program

Parties may submit an Order of Referral to Mediation. A motion is not required. Pursuant to Administrative Order 2024-8.2 and in order to verify that the parties qualify for the Family Mediation Program and for the Family Mediation Program to determine the appropriate fee, both parties must have current financial affidavits on file prior to submitting an Order of Referral.

Private Mediation

Orders of Referral are not required, but a report must be filed.

Twelfth Judicial Circuit Family Mediation Program

If the gross income of the parties meets statutory program eligibility requirements, the Court may refer the parties to the Family Mediation Program, which provides Florida Supreme Court Family Certified Mediators to help parties resolve open cases. Visit the Family Mediation Program page for detailed information about the program. Parties do not need to submit a motion for referral, but must submit the approved Order of Referral to Mediation. Pursuant to Administrative Order 2024-8.2, both parties must have current financial affidavits on file before submitting an Order of Referral to Mediation so that the Court can verify the parties qualify for the Family Mediation Program and to determine the appropriate fee. Pursuant to Fla.Fam.L.R.P. 12.285, Mandatory Disclosure, subsection (e)(1) (in part), if a Supplemental Petition has been filed, both parties must file new Financial Affidavits, regardless of how recently Financial Affidavits were last filed. Pursuant to subsection (f), both parties have an on-going duty to supplement their Financial Affidavits whenever there is a material change to their financial status.

Parenting Classes

General Information

In a Dissolution of Marriage With Minor Children or a Paternity action, parties are required by F.S. 61.21 to complete an approved Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course and file a Certificate of Completion with the Clerk prior to the entry of a final judgment.

Orders to attend a parenting course will not be entered by the Court. Florida law and local rules mandate the times within which parents must complete an approved Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. It is the responsibility of counsel to ensure a client has completed this course and a Certificate of Completion is filed with the Clerk.


At the time of the Final Hearing, if a party has not filed a Certificate of Completion, the non-compliant party may be limited to supervised time-sharing until they comply.

If both parties have not complied, the Final Hearing may be cancelled.

Correspondence or Internet Course

If a party wishes to take an online parenting course, a written request to the judge must be submitted and an order approving the online parenting court must be entered before the online parenting course is taken.

An approved course through correspondence or the internet may be used only if a party resides out of state or in a country where a course is not offered or upon good cause shown by verified motion.

Adoptions and Termination of Parental Rights

Final Hearings

A written request for final hearing and copies of all pertinent materials required under Chapter 63, Florida Statutes, shall be sent to the Judge’s chambers, along with an appropriate, complete, signed, court-approved checklist (TPR or Adoption). The Court will review the submission and if complete, will send an Order Authorizing Final Hearing. The checklists are available on the Divisions page.

If Authorize

A copy of the order authorizing must be attached to the Notice of Hearing and provided to the Court prior to the hearing. The adoption hearing must be scheduled before the same judge that entered the Final Judgment in the TPR case. The hearing must be scheduled on JACS using the adoption case number. The TPR case number should be entered in the “Additional Info” field.

Magistrate & Child Support Hearing Officer

Magistrate Paul Hudson

Issues to be Referred to Magistrate Hudson

Unless an objection to the Magistrate is on file, the following issues must be referred to the Magistrate. The scheduling attorney shall submit a Family Division “Order of Referral to Magistrate” setting forth the issue(s) to be referred. A motion is not required. Review Magistrate Hudson’s requirements.

  • All temporary issues, except hardship or emergency motions that the Court has agreed to allow the Magistrate to hear on an expedited basis.
  • Motions directed to the pleadings (Motions to Dismiss, Amend, Strike, Default, Set Aside, etc.)
  • All civil contempt/enforcement issues related to temporary issues. Any motion for civil contempt/enforcement must provide specific, detailed, factual allegations for each alleged violation, including dates, and must refer to the specific language in the order or judgment that has allegedly been violated.
  • Trial-related motions for trials set or to be set before the Magistrate.
  • Discovery-related issues (objections, compel, protective orders, etc.).

Issues Not to be Referred to Magistrate Hudson

  • Requests for emergency pickup orders following flight or threat of flight with a child from the jurisdiction of the Court
  • Emergency matters unless the Judge has determined that the issue(s) involved do not require immediate resolution before the exception period would expire
  • Petitions to Approve the Termination of a Pregnancy by a Minor
  • Motions to Vacate Final Judgment
  • Motions to Modify or Dissolve domestic violence injunctions
  • Trial-related motions for trials set or to be set before the Circuit Court Judge

Motion to Vacate Report and Recommended Order of Magistrate

A party filing Motion to Vacate to the Magistrate’s Report and Recommended Order shall:

  • File the original Motion to Vacate with the Clerk and
  • Send a copy of the Motion to Vacate directly to the Court and the Magistrate.

Upon receipt of the Motion to Vacate, the Court will enter an Order for Transcript that sets deadlines to submit a transcript and schedule a hearing. If the transcript is not filed within the time limit established by the Order for Transcript or such other date set by the Court upon motion and order, the Motion to Vacate will be denied. Motion to Vacate hearings are non-evidentiary and similar to an appeal. The hearing must be scheduled on JACS for no more than 30 minutes (15 minutes per side). If a pro se litigant files a Motion to Vacate an opposing attorney is not permitted to schedule a Motion to Vacate hearing for the pro se litigant.

Child Support Enforcement Hearing Officer Laura Hale

General Information

For purposes of child support, Rule 12.491, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, permits the appointment of a Support Enforcement Hearing Officer in proceedings for the establishment, enforcement, or modification of child support. Administrative Orders 89-08-12 and 99-19-12 establish that the use of the Support Enforcement Hearing Officer is appropriate in both Title IV- D and Non-Title IV-D cases. Use of the hearing officer is mandatory and does not require the consent of the parties. Orders of Referral are not required for hearings related to child support issues.

Title IV-D Child Support

Title IV-D child support issues shall be scheduled before the Honorable Laura Hale, Child Support Enforcement Hearing Officer.

Non-Title IV-D Child Support

After mediation has been completed, all non-Title IV-D child support proceedings concerning the establishment or modification of child support must be scheduled Child Support Hearing Officer. A Notice for Trial is not required when child support is the only issue to be resolved.

Child Support Hearing Officer (No Orders of Referral)

Orders of Referral are not required for hearings relating to child support issues. Use of a Child Support Hearing Officer does not require consent. (See Heilman v. Heilman, 596 So. 2d 1046 (Fla. 1992).)

Motions to Vacate (Child Support)

Pursuant to Family Law Rule 12.491(f), any party affected by an order may move to vacate an order by filing a motion to vacate within ten (10) days from the date of entry of the order. The motion must be filed in the Clerk’s Office, and a copy of the motion must simultaneously be sent to the assigned Circuit Judge and to the Hearing Officer.