The Court, or your attorney, will email you a link to enter the virtual courtroom. The Zoom Courtroom may be accessed by looking up your Judge on http://www.17th.flcourts.org/judiciary-list-and-category/ If you cannot access the link, please contact our office immediately. If you do not have access to a computer or phone with video capabilities, there will also be a call-in number to appear with audio only. However, the Judge may need to see you to go forward with your hearing. If you can use video, please use video.
Please keep the following tips in mind:
- You may want to create an email address to use for communicating with the Court as email addresses may become part of the public record. You may access Zoom through the web link or you may download an application on your device.
- Make sure there is nothing identifying around you (ex. views out of a window). If you are somewhere that the opposing party is unfamiliar with, we want you to be able to keep your location confidential. You are able to change your background on Zoom. If you do this, please use a solid color, plain background.
- Think about the placement of your camera (not looking up your nose).
- If you get disconnected during the call or video, please log back in or call back in immediately. If you have trouble reconnecting, please call my office as soon as possible.
- Before you log in or call in, please use the bathroom, get a glass of water, and do whatever you think you may need to do. We may be waiting for a while (possibly well over an hour) and we will not know when they will be calling us in. There is no warning, so please be ready.
- Make sure you are in quiet space and log in to the hearing at least 15 minutes early. Turn off your phone and mute any alerts that may pop up on your screen and distract you. If you have a “smart speaker” (Alexa, Echo Dot), you may want to turn that off as well.
- Please use your full name (as it appears on your legal documents) when you sign in. When you first log in, we will be placed in a “waiting room”. We will be taken into the hearing when the Judge is ready for us.
- Talk to the camera.
- With video, the Judge will be able to see and hear all of your reactions. It is very important that you are mindful that although we are not in-person, our reactions will be visible. When you are not speaking, please mute your microphone. If your microphone is not muted, everyone will be able to hear anything you say.
- Feel free to put a post-it/paper over your opposing party’s picture on the screen if you do not want to look at them.
- Also, please make sure you are dressed appropriately for court. We understand that you may be at work. If you are required to have a work uniform on, that is fine.
- It is important you are alone during the hearing and not texting or communicating with anyone. During your testimony, it will be as if you are on the stand in the courtroom.
- If you have a minor child or children in your home, please go into a separate room for your hearing, so your child(ren) does/do not hear the litigation. If you need to supervise a child because no one is available to be with the child or because of a child’s age or disability, please let us know. We may need to inform the court of your child care situation.
- Please have your driver’s license available and ready to show the Judge. The Judge may ask you to hold it up to the camera before you testify.
- We will not be able to communicate with each other during the hearing. We will contact you after the hearing to answer any questions you may have.
- If you have any evidence you would like the court to consider, such as pictures or videos, please immediately provide those to your attorney. These items must be provided to the court before the hearing.
President Trump has issued a Proclamation “suspending entry of immigrants” to the United States for the next 60 days. President Trump’s Proclamation only affects individuals outside the United States seeking to enter the country as immigrants and who do not have a valid immigrant visa as of the effective date of the Proclamation, April 24, 2020, and who do not have another valid travel document. The Proclamation carves out certain exceptions: Individuals who are already Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders); Spouses and children (under 21) of U.S. Citizens (notably this exception does not include parents, siblings, and adult children of U.S. citizens, or spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents. These categories of immigrants will not be allowed to enter the United States for the next 60 days.); Doctors, Nurses, and Healthcare Professionals working on COVID-19; EB-5 Investors and National Interest Visa applicants; Members of the Armed Forces; SI or SQ Special Immigrants; and Asylum seekers.
Notes: The suspension does not include, and should not affect, people already inside the United States seeking to adjust their status to Lawful Permanent Residents. However, it should be noted that since March 18, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has suspended in-person services (e.g. adjustment interviews) until May 3, 2020 or further notice. It should also be noted that there is currently a global do-not-travel warning by the Department of State, and for weeks now, before the issuance of this proclamation, most, if not all, U.S. consular offices around the world have been closed due to COVID-19. Thus, it is unclear how much, if any, immigration this proclamation will impede that was not already delayed by pandemic closures.