Policies & Procedures Regarding Dependency
NOTE: THESE ARE GENERAL POLICIES FOR THE 12th Circuit. Individual counties within the circuit may have additional requirements. Please verify the specific division requirements.
- Attorneys may not appear telephonically.
- Parents without allegations who reside out of state or county may not appear telephonically but rather will be represented by counsel.
- Parties must appear in person or their presence will be deemed waived unless good cause is shown and unless the parties comply with the provisions below in paragraphs 7 and 8.
- Incarcerated parties who are housed out of county may appear telephonically in the discretion of the court and in accordance with paragraphs 7 and 8 below.
- Other interested persons, such as tribal counsel, may appear telephonically with prior approval of the court and as set forth below in paragraphs 7 and 8.
- A request for telephonic appearance must be received by the court no later than 5 business days before the court date. This request must acknowledge that the requesting party has provided a valid number, will have a notary public present in the event testimony is needed, and understands that the case will be scheduled as set forth below in paragraphs 7 and 8. Telephonic evidentiary hearings are permitted only in the discretion of the court and in accordance with the Rules of Judicial Administration.
- All cases with telephonic appearances will be set at a specific time (Manatee County will hear telephonic matters in the afternoon at the conclusion of the regular docket; Sarasota County will hear telephonic cases at the conclusion of the docket; DeSoto County will hear telephonic cases at 1:30 pm. The party appearing telephonically will be on standby to receive the call within a two hour window. The court will not make multiple calls in the event the number is busy or voice mail picks up.
- The court may deny any request to appear telephonically.
- Contested motions, such as motions for reunification, to change placement or to amend a case plan goal, must be scheduled with the JA/JACS at a specific time and must be coordinated with all other counsel. These matters will not be heard during the scheduled judicial reviews or other proceedings. The moving party must file a notice of hearing on the motion in accordance with the local rules. Uncontested matters may be addressed without scheduling a separate hearing. Requests to add a concurrent goal may be addressed at the judicial review or status without prior written notice.
- Case plans should be approved and signed prior to the arraignment.
- Parties who must be served with a petition or amended petition should be identified by the Department and provided with their paperwork prior to their case being called in court.