Manatee County Family Division 4

Requirements and Information

January 2, 2024

Vincent Giura, Circuit Court Magistrate

Ashley Jacobs, Magistrate Assistant

The following requirements and linked websites are intended to assist parties in complying with litigation-related procedures. It is the responsibility of counsel to ensure all matters brought before the Court are in full compliance with Florida Statutes, Florida Rules of Procedure, Standards of Professionalism, and the Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s Administrative Orders.

Throughout these requirements the term “counsel” or “attorney” may be replaced with “pro se party” in the event the party is unrepresented. The term “motion” is used generically and is intended to refer to any document filed to bring a matter to hearing, regardless of the actual descriptive title of the document used.

The Magistrate must apply the same rules to all parties, regardless of whether you have an attorney, and cannot discuss your case with you outside of the courtroom. The Magistrate Assistant may not provide legal advice, send information to other parties or attorneys on your behalf, or relay a message to the Magistrate. In addition, please do not request the Magistrate Assistant provide the hearing outcome/ruling as you may review the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website for updated details about your case. Lastly, please remember anything you file with the Clerk must be provided to the opposing attorney or party.

Courtroom Conduct & Standards of Professionalism

All attorneys are expected to abide by the Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s Standards of Professionalism.

All parties shall: adhere to the Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s Family Division Rules of Courtroom Etiquette and Standing Order for Family Law Cases, be punctual and prepared for any court appearance, and remain respectful and courteous in their communication.

Children are strictly prohibited from attending any family law proceeding, whether inside the courtroom or during any remote proceeding (e.g., Zoom or telephonic hearings), without prior order of the Court. See Family Law Rule 12.407(a).

Orders of Referral to the General Magistrate

Magistrate Giura is assigned to hear referred cases within Family Division 4. Please ensure an Order of Referral has been entered prior to your hearing, otherwise the matter may be cancelled. As indicated below, an Order of Referral is not required for hearings related solely to child support issues.

Please refer to Judge Sniffen’s requirements for a detailed explanation of appropriate issues that must be referred to the Magistrate, while other issues are specifically excluded.

If an Order of Referral is needed, it is the responsibility of the attorney to submit an Order of Referral to the General Magistrate that identifies the General Magistrate by name, sets forth the issue(s) to be resolved, and provides the date of filing for the pleading(s). A motion is not required.

Child Support

Neither an Order of Referral nor consent are required for hearings related to the establishment, enforcement, or modification of child support. See Family Law Rule 12.491; Heilman v. Heilman, 596 So. 2d 1046 (Fla. 1992).

Self-Represented/Pro Se Parties

  • Pro Se Parties must always file a Form A when filing a document or seeking hearing time.
  • The Court is required to equally apply the same rules to all parties, regardless of whether you are represented by counsel.
  • The Pro Se Forms & Instructions page provides access to instructions and forms approved by the Florida Supreme Court for individuals who have chosen to represent themselves. This list is not exhaustive and it is your responsibility to determine which forms to file.
  • When determining the status of your case and/or upcoming hearing details, please reference the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website.
  • The Layon F. Robinson, II Law Library is located at 1051 Manatee Avenue West, Room 1101, 1st Floor, Bradenton, Florida 34205. Please visit the Manatee County Clerk website for contact information.
  • The Judge Lee E. Haworth Self-Help Center and Law Library is located at 2002 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, Florida 34237. Please visit the Self Help Center page for contact information.
  • Whenever you file a document with the Clerk or provide the Court a copy, you must send a copy to all the attorneys or parties at the same time to ensure adequate notice.
  • The Magistrate may not discuss your case with you outside of the courtroom, so please do not call to speak with the Magistrate or request the Magistrate Assistant to pass along a message to the Magistrate.
  • The Magistrate Assistant may not provide legal advice regarding your case nor send information to the other party or attorney on your behalf.

Scheduling Hearings & Trials


All parties shall reserve sufficient hearing time to permit a full and fair presentation, as well as equal response time for the other party, to ensure all issues may be completely heard by the Magistrate. If the parties are unable to present all their evidence and argument(s) for consideration within the allotted hearing time, the Magistrate, at his discretion, may:

  • Continue the matter to another date and time to provide the parties further opportunity to present additional evidence and argument, or
  • Conclude the hearing and render the recommended order to the Court based on the evidence and argument presented by the parties within the hearing time allotment. The Magistrate strictly adheres to this provision.

Hearings less than 60 minutes

All hearings sixty (60) minutes or less in length must be scheduled through the Judicial Automated Calendaring System (JACS). Please do not schedule back-to-back slots to obtain more hearing time (i.e., two 15-minute slots to obtain 30 minutes of hearing time).

Hearings longer than 60 minutes

If you need more than sixty (60) minutes of hearing time or cannot find adequate time in JACS to schedule your hearing, please contact the Magistrate Assistant.

Case Management Hearings

Please call/e-mail the Magistrate Assistant or schedule a case management hearing on JACS on an appropriate docket.


Once a matter is scheduled, subsequent motions/issues may not be added or cross-noticed without prior approval of the scheduling party and the Magistrate. The scheduling party should be contacted for consent before seeking the Magistrate’s approval to add additional motions/issues.

Canceling hearings

The moving party should cancel the hearing time in JACS and file a Notice of Cancellation as soon as the parties are aware the need for the hearing time no longer exists. If a party is unable to cancel a hearing through JACS, please contact the Magistrate Assistant so the time may be made promptly available for other cases. When a hearing is canceled, opposing parties and/or counsel must be notified.

Expedited or Emergency Hearings

There are no set criteria regarding emergency or expedited hearings and the Magistrate Assistant may only provide emergency or expedited hearing time based on the Judge’s direction. Please follow Judge Sniffen’s requirements for requesting an expedited or emergency hearing as your request shall first be presented to the Judge’s office for review and consideration. In the event the Judge orders an expedited or emergency hearing before the Magistrate, an appropriate Order and/or Referral will be generated, with hearing time made available.

Requirements for all Hearings

For any hearing scheduled before the Magistrate, the moving party shall submit to the Magistrate’s office (via hand, mail, or e-mail delivery) at least three (3) days prior to the hearing the following:

  • The motion to be heard and any relevant court filing to which the parties may refer,
  • The Order of Referral for the particular motion/issue to be heard,
  • The Notice of Hearing for the particular motion/issue to be heard,
  • The Notice of Related Cases (if any exist), and
  • Copies of all relevant documents from cases in other jurisdictions, which may be provided by either:
    • A list of the documents, along with the date(s) the document(s) was filed with the Court (preferred) or
    • Hard copies of these documents.
Please note that if these requirements are not completed three (3) days prior to the hearing, the hearing may be cancelled by the Magistrate’s office.

Notices of Hearing

General Magistrate

If the matter is referred to the General Magistrate, the notice setting the cause for hearing must be in substantial conformity with Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure 12.920 (b) and (c) and must contain the following language in bold type: “Should you wish to seek review of the recommended order made by the general magistrate, you must file a Motion to Vacate in accordance with Rule 12.490(e), Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure. You will be required to provide the court with a record sufficient to support your Motion to Vacate or your motion will be denied. A record ordinarily includes a written transcript of all relevant proceedings unless waived by order of the court prior to any hearing on the Motion to Vacate. The person seeking review must have the transcript prepared for the court’s review.”

Child Support Hearing Officer

If the matter is automatically referred to the Child Support Hearing Officer, the notice setting the cause for hearing must contain the following language in bold type: “Should you wish to seek review of the Order upon the recommendations of the child support enforcement hearing officer, you must file a Motion to Vacate within 10 days from the date of entry of the order in accordance with Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.491(f). You will be required to provide the court with a record sufficient to support your position or your motion will be denied. A record ordinarily includes a written transcript of all relevant proceedings. The person seeking review must have the transcript prepared for the court’s review.”

ADA Notice

All Notices of Hearing shall include the following in bold type, 14-point Times New Roman or Courier font: “If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in a proceeding, you are entitled (at no cost to you) to the provision of certain assistance, including, but not limited to: assistive listening devices, sign language interpreters, language interpreters, and reader services. Please contact the Manatee County Jury Office via U.S. mail at P.O. Box 25400, Bradenton, Florida 34206 or via telephone at (941) 741-4062, within two working days of receipt of a notice to appear at a court proceeding. If you are hearing or voice impaired, please call 711.” Please visit the Americans with Disabilities Act page for more information.


If an interpreter is needed for any hearing, you must either provide one at your own expense, or arrange to have one provided by the Twelfth Judicial Circuit. All Notices of Hearing shall also include the following provisions for interpreters:

  • “The Twelfth Judicial Circuit provides spoken language court interpreters to limited-English-proficient persons in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 90.606, Florida Statutes (2023), and Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.560. If you require the assistance of an interpreter, please submit your request using the Interpreter Request Form or call (941) 749-3659. Please ensure you submit your request as early as possible, as requests made within less than five (5) business days’ notice may not be accommodated.
  • El Duodécimo Circuito Judicial provee intérpretes judiciales de la lengua hablada a personas con dominio limitado del inglés de acuerdo con el Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964, la sección 90.606, los Estatutos de la Florida y la Regla 2.560 de las Reglas de Administración Judicial de la Florida. Si requiere la ayuda de un intérprete, por favor utilice la Solicitud de Interprete o llame al (941) 749-3659. Por favor, envíe su solicitud lo antes posible, las solicitudes hechas con menos de 5 días hábiles no pueden ser garantizadas.”

Zoom & Telephonic Hearings

Magistrate Giura’s Standing Zoom Credentials (effective February 1, 2024)

All trials, evidentiary hearings, and non-evidentiary hearings lasting longer than thirty (30) minutes shall be presumed to be in-person hearings in Hearing Room 2 of the Manatee County Judicial Center. If one or more of the parties seek an exception to the presumption that a trial, evidentiary hearing, or non-evidentiary hearing lasting longer than 30 minutes shall be in person, the party seeking an exception must do so by filing a motion requesting the same, unless all parties agree to have the hearing conducted via Zoom. If any party objects to a request to have a hearing conducted via Zoom rather than in person, they must file a written objection setting forth the basis for the objection. The Magistrate’s office will address all requests for an exception to the presumption that all such hearings will be in person on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Administrative Orders and F.R.J.A. 2.530.

All non-evidentiary hearings lasting 30 minutes or less may be conducted via Zoom upon the agreement of all parties, proper notice given at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing, including notice to the Magistrate’s Office, and scheduling on the appropriate docket.

At this time, the Court has a limited ability to conduct hybrid hearings, where some parties may appear in person, while others appear via Zoom. Hybrid hearings are intended to be the exception to the general rule and may only be allowed upon a showing of good cause. Should any party wish to request a hybrid hearing, they must do so at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing to allow the Magistrate’s office sufficient time to consider the request and reserve the requisite technological resources for the hearing if the request is granted. Hybrid hearings may not be requested at the time the hearing is scheduled to begin.

Zoom hearing by Stipulation

If the attorneys agree to the use of Zoom for a hearing of one hour or more, they may advise the Magistrate Assistant of their stipulation and request hearing time. The Magistrate will consider the request by stipulation. Please do not schedule a Zoom hearing exceeding one hour without prior approval.

When drafting a Notice of Hearing please include Magistrate Giura’s Zoom credentials, the filing date for each matter to be heard, and all other applicable requirements listed above in the Notices of Hearing section.


Both parties are required to file their Financial Affidavits with the Clerk prior to mediation being ordered. Failure to provide mandated financial disclosures three (3) business days prior to mediation may result in sanctions and the cancellation of the mediation session.

Parenting Course

Statutorily required in all dissolutions with minor children and all paternity cases. The law mandates time frames within which parents must complete a DCF-approved Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. It is the responsibility of counsel to ensure clients have completed this course and that a Certificate of Completion is on file prior to the final hearing. A party may be limited to supervised time-sharing if they have not filed this Certificate by the time of final hearing. In the event both parties have failed to file this Certificate prior to the final hearing, the Magistrate’s Office may cancel the hearing.

Recommended Orders Under Advisement

Magistrate Giura may make recommendations from the bench where appropriate; however, matters may also be taken under advisement. When this occurs, Magistrate Giura will enter recommended orders as quickly as possible under the current circumstances. In the event four weeks have elapsed without receipt of a ruling, the movant may email the Magistrate Assistant (and copy all parties) to advise the matter has been under advisement for more than four weeks. The four-week time frame begins upon the Court’s receipt of the last post-hearing submission (e.g., supplemental briefs, child support guideline worksheets, proposed recommended order(s), or legal authority). Pro Se parties may file a Form A to inquire about the status of a recommended order.

Motions to Vacate

Any party affected by the recommended order may file a Motion to Vacate within ten (10) days from the date of entry. The Motion to Vacate must be filed with the Clerk and copies furnished directly to the assigned Judge and Magistrate, simultaneously via e-mail. An Order for Transcript may then be issued setting forth deadlines to submit the transcript and scheduling the hearing date.

Motions for Rehearing, Reconsideration, & New Trials

All motions for rehearing, reconsideration, and new trial are to be submitted directly to the Magistrate’s office and affirmatively indicate copies were provided to all parties. The motion should be detailed and contain all written argument cited to the appropriate authority. Pro Se parties shall file a Form A with their motion. Magistrate Giura will first review the motion to determine whether a hearing is required.

Communication & E-mail Submissions

If any documents or proposed recommended orders are submitted via e-mail, they shall be submitted to the Magistrate's Division email and include the following in the subject line: case number, case style/names, and relevant matter (e.g., 2020 DR 1234, Doe v. Doe, Opposed Recommended Order). All e-mail communication shall comply with the rules regarding ex parte communication and any e-mail sent for communication purposes to this e-mail address will not be read, considered, responded to, or filed. The sole purpose of this email account is for the submission of documents under these requirements or for the submission of a proposed recommended order. This e-mail account is not to be used to communicate with the Magistrate’s office in any way.

Any proposed recommended order shall be submitted as an email attachment in a format compatible with Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx format) – please do not send in PDF format. The attorney responsible for preparing the proposed recommended order should prepare it promptly and provide it to opposing counsel for review prior to submission. Attorneys shall not submit orders to the court with a copy to the opposing attorney for “objections within ‘X’ days.” Instead, the submitting attorney shall inform the Magistrate’s office that the proposed recommended order is either agreed upon, opposed, or that the submitting attorney has provided the recommended order to opposing counsel (or pro se party) on a certain date, but no response from opposing counsel (or pro se party) has been received.

Pursuant to Fla. Family Law Rule 12.080(b), the party preparing the recommended order must provide the Court with stamped, addressed envelopes to all parties for service, taking into account the Court’s Order approving the recommended order as well. Please make sure to provide additional postage if there are significant attachments, such as a Parenting Plan.

Any documents submitted by e-mail shall be copied to the opposing counsel/pro se party, and there shall be an indication in the e-mail that copies have been so provided.

Contact Information