The Honorable Scott Suskauer

Division: 
Family Division "FC"

Judicial Assistant:
Johnna Hochella

Phone:
(561) 355-3028

Email: CAD-DivisionFC@pbcgov.org 

Room: 
6.2208

Courtroom Number: 
6J

Main Judicial Complex
205 N Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

 

Divisional Instructions

Email:cad-divisionfc@pbcgov.org:  FOR DELIVERY OF AGREED ORDERS (only if all parties have registered their email address), ORDERS OF REFERRAL TO GENERAL MAGISTRATE and ORDERS OF REFERRAL TO MEDIATION ONLY


SERVICE BY EMAIL PROCEDURES

  • DO NOT send courtesy copies or correspondene by email.
  • DO NOT send proposed Final Jugments, even if agreed, by email.  All proposed Final Judgments, Exhibits to Final Judgments, Memoranda of Law and Closing Arguments must be sent to the Judge via U.S. mail or courier.
  • Division FC accepts the following by email in MS Word format AS LONG AS ALL PARTIES HAVE REGISTERED THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS:  AGREED ORDERS (as long as all parties have registered their email address), ORDERS OF REFERRAL and ORDERS SETTING MEDIATION only.

 

  • Orders sent to the Court by email will be served to the parties by email ONLY. All orders must state a mailing and email address for each party for service.

 

  • All documents emailed to the Court must state that they were emailed to the opposing side in the same email or they will be returned as ex parte communication.

 

  • IF THE OPPOSING SIDE IS AN EMAIL EXCUSED ATTORNEY OR A PRO SE party (unless pro se party has agreed to email service) DO NOT SEND YOUR ORDER BY EMAIL. A hard copy of the proposed order must be provided to the Court with sufficient envelopes provided to the Court for service.

 

  • DO NOT EMAIL to the Court unless specifically directed by the Court: copies of Notices of UMC Hearing, Motions, Letters, Notices of Filing, Request to Produce, Interrogatories, Memorandum of Law, Case Law, etc.

 

  • INCOME WITHHOLDING FOR SUPPORT ORDER AND FLORIDA ADDENDUM:  Please note that the previously used Income Deduction Order has now been replaced with the INCOME WITHHOLDING FOR SUPPORT ORDER AND FLORIDA ADDENDUM (IWO).  The IWO is a required FEDERAL form to be used for all cases involving support.
     

UNIFORM MOTION CALENDAR (UMC):

  • Tuesday through Thursday – 8:45 a.m. (See A.O. 5.201-/5.09)
  • Ten (10) minutes allotted (5 minutes per side)
  • No contested evidentiary hearings
  • Uncontested final hearings in dissolution, paternity, name change and temporary custody cases will be heard during UMC
  • Coordinated with opposing counsel or pro se litigant
  • With five (5) business days notice to opposing counsel or pro se litigant (unless short notice agreed by parties)
  • Judge MUST RECEIVE five (5) business days prior to the hearing by regular mail - courtesy copy of the notice of hearing, motion, supporting documentation and case law
    Note: The Court does not automatically receive a copy of motions or noticesfiled electronically in the court file from the Clerk's office.
  • Counsel or pro se litigant brings to hearing:  Proposed order granting/denying motion with email addresses for each party or sufficient copies of the proposed order and stamped, self-addressed envelopes for each party, if any party has opted out or if opposing party is pro se.
  • Do not call the J.A. for a UMC hearing.  Simply pick a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday; check "Suspension Calendar" to avoid setting on a date the calendar is suspended; and clear date with opposing counel or pro se litigant.

UNCONTESTED DISSOLUTIONS OF MARRIAGE:

  • Can be heard at UMC (follow UMC rules above)
  • Testimony at Final Hearing and Final Disposition forms must be completed (available on the 15th Judicial Circuit Website
  • Confirm notice required by Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.440 and Fla. Stat. §61.19
  • Bring proof of residency Fla. Stat. §61.052(2)
  • Verify all documents necessary are in court file (Fla. Stat. §§61.052(7), (8); 61.21(4); Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.285(d)(j)
  • Provide a proposed final judgment with self-addressed stamped envelopes for each party
  • Income Deduction Order or Income Withholding Order, if needed

PURSUANT TO FL STAT 61.21 and AO 5.212 both parties must have attended a Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course prior to setting a final hearing (dissolution or paternity) with children (contested or uncontested).

 

SPECIAL SET HEARINGS:

  • Motions must be filed and docketed with clerk before hearing dates can be given or a hearing can be set
  • Attorney's office contacts Judicial Assistant by telephone for dates (several will be given)
  • Person requesting hearing must confirm availability with opposing counsel or pro se litigant
  • Confirm date with Judicial Assistant as soon as possible to reserve – dates are not held
  • Send copy of Notice of Hearing and copy of pleading being heard to the Judge's chamber
  • An Order is NOT required for a special set hearing; however a special set hearing cannot be cancelled unless the matter set for hearing is settled (with an agreed order presented to Court) or withdrawn. 
  • Each Notice of Hearing must contain the following language:

"The attorneys/parties must submit to the Court FIVE (5) BUSINESS DAYS before the hearing:

1. Copies of all relevant pleading;

2.  A copy of any memorandum of law; and

3.  Copies of all case law authority; and

All parties are required to have with them at the time of the hearing a proposed Order on the Motion being heard with copies for conforming and self-addressed stamped envelopes for each party.  Please see Local Rule 3.

This hearing has been specially set and cannot be canceled unless the issues of this motion have been resolved and an Order entered, or the motion is withdrawn."

 

TEMPORARY RELIEF HEARINGS:

  • Mediation ON THE TEMPORARY RELIEF SOUGHT (following the filing of the motion for temporary relief) must be held before a temporary relief hearing will be scheduled A.O. 5.207-5/09
  • Following mediation, if parties are unable to reach an agreement, dates and times for temporary relief hearings can be obtained from Judicial Assistant
  • Hearings are limited to a total of thirty (30) minutes A.0. 5.207-5/09 unless permission granted by the Court following UMC hearing
  • Follow instructions for Special Set Hearings

NOTICE/MOTION TO SET CAUSE FOR TRIAL:

  • Original notice/motion to set cause for trial filed with Clerk's office
  • Please adhere to all instructions in A.O. 5.209-5/09
  • JUDGE MUST RECEIVE A COURTESY COPY OF THE NOTICE FOR TRIAL ALONG WITH SUFFICIENT STAMPED, SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPES FOR ALL PARTIES.
  • Notices must include specific motion or petition/counter petition to be tried and the estimate of time necessary for trial.
  • Continuances of trial require a hearing on Uniform Motion Calendar.
  • If noticing a post judgment matter, a copy of the Order Sustaining Objection to General Magistrate and a copy of each motion being heard must accompany the trial notice.

PURSUANT TO FL STAT 61.21 an AO 5.212 both partis must have attended a Parent Education and Family Stabilization Cours prior to the setting of a Final Hearing with children (contested or uncontested).

ONCE A CASE IS SET FOR TRIAL THE JUDGE WILL ONLY GRANT MOTIONS TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL OF RECORD IN EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES.  ALL NOTICES OF UNAVAILABILTY MUST BE FILED PRIOR TO THE CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE WHICH WILL BE SET PRIOR TO TRIAL.

SERVICE AND PREPARATION OF JUDGMENTS AND ORDERS:

  • FINAL JUDGMENTS will be mailed to all parties
  • Administrative Order 5.204-5/09 requires that some portion of text of the Order be included on signature page
  • Proposed Final Judgments and/or Orders should be submitted within ten (10) days following the hearing
  • Proposed order should include a cover letter specifying the date of the hearing

POST JUDGMENT MATTERS:
MODIFICATIONS, MOTIONS FOR CONTEMPT AND/OR ENFORCEMENT OF FINAL JUDGMENT:

  • All post judgment modifications, motions for contempt and/or enforcement of final judgment are referred to the Magistrate
  • All child support post-judgment matters are heard by the Magistrate
  • All post judgment Motions to Withdraw as Counsel of Record are heard by the Magistrate, unless an Order Sustaining Objection has been entered and the matter was referred back to the Judge
  • Attorney or pro se litigant should send the proper 15th Judicial Circuit Order of Referral to the Judge (See Divisional Forms and Orders)
  • Attorney or pro se litigant may file an objection to the referral
  • After order sustaining objection is docketed, Attorney should contact the Judicial Assistant to schedule the matter (A.O. 5.022)
  • Pro se litigants should contact the division case manager (561-355-1773) to schedule the matter
  • When requesting a Final Hearing on a post judgment Petition or Motion, PLEASE include the name of the pleading in your trial notice AND include a copy of the pleading and Order Sustaining Objection to General Magistrate with your trial notice

PETITIONS FOR TEMPORARY CUSTODY:

  • These matters no longer require review by a Staff Attorey.  Please call the J.A. to obtain a special set hearing. 
  • Please see A.O. 5.111.

ADOPTIONS AND NAME CHANGES:

  • All adoption and name change statutory requirements must be met before a final hearing will be set
  • Staff Attorneys review all adoption matters and the Case Manager reviews name changes petitions
  • No hearings will be set until reviewed by the Staff Attorney or Case Manager
  • A status order from the Court may be issued to the parties
  • Following all requirements being met by the parties, the Judicial Assistant will contact the attorney/party(ies) to schedule a final hearing upon receiving notice from the Staff Attorney
  • PLEASE SEE A.O. 5.807 "Chapter 39 Adoptions" before requesting a final hearing

 

APPEARANCE BY TELEPHONE:

  • Any attorney may appear telephonically by contacting Court Call at 1-888-882-6878 and register at least two days prior to the scheduled hearing.

     NOTICE TO SELF REPRESENTED LITIGANTS:
    CONTACT THE DIVISION CASE MANAGER: LINDA PETERS, 561-355-1773
  • DO NOT SEND LETTERS OR NOTES TO THE COURT*

*The Court does not act on letters or notes sent by either party. The Court acts on petitions or motions properly filed with the Clerk of the Court. File the appropriate petition or motion with the Clerk of the Court, send a copy to the opposing side and a courtesy copy to the Court in order for requests to be addressed by the Court.