Family LAw Florida Civil Law Self-Help Trial Work

How can I get in front of the Judge before Trial?

It's improper to communicate with the Judge outside Court. So, how can you request a decision on an issue before the case is over?

It is considered unethical to communicate with the Judge assigned to your case outside the Court while the case is pending. This is known as ex parte communication.

So, how can you ask the Court for something? How can a party get in front of the Court while a case is pending, to discuss something important that needs a decision before the case is over?

File a Motion:

A motion is a request to the court to obtain an order on a specific issue. Motions can be made orally at a hearing or in writing. Most motions require a hearing before the Judge makes a decision. If a hearing is not required, the Court will make a decision based on the written submissions to the Court and any supporting affidavits, documents, and/or other evidence that were submitted in relation to said motion. If a motion calls for a hearing, the attorneys (or pro se litigants) must appear before the court and argue the motion.

Case Management Conference:

Another way to (ethically) communicate with the Judge would be setting the case for a Case Management Conference (CMC); sometimes referred to as a Status Hearing.

A CMC is a hearing where the judge, the attorneys, and the parties meet to discuss the pending issues in the case. CMCs are designed to keep the parties on track, and move the case forward towards its completion.

A CMC may be set on the motion of a party or by the Court on its own motion. The matter to be considered shall be specified in the order or notice setting the CMC.

All Courts have their own procedure for CMCs. In Florida, the procedures for scheduling and conducting a case management conference are outlined in Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.200(a).

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