Rule 12.200 Case Management and Pretrial Conferences

(a)     Case Management Conference.

(1)     Family Law Proceedings, Generally. A case management conference may be ordered by the court at any time on the court’s initiative. A party may request a case management conference 30 days after service of a petition or complaint. At such a conference the court may:

(A)     schedule or reschedule the service of motions, pleadings, and other documents;

(B)     set or reset the time of trials, subject to rule 12.440;

(C)     coordinate the progress of the action if complex litigation factors are present;

(D)     limit, schedule, order, or expedite discovery;

(E)     schedule disclosure of expert witnesses and the discovery of facts known and opinions held by such experts;

(F)     schedule or hear motions related to admission or exclusion of evidence;

(G)     pursue the possibilities of settlement;

(H)    require filing of preliminary stipulations if issues can be narrowed;

(I)      refer issues to a magistrate for findings of fact, if consent is obtained as provided in rules 12.490 and 12.492 and if no significant history of domestic, repeat, dating, or sexual violence, or stalking that would compromise the process is involved in the case;

(J)     refer the parties to mediation if no significant history of domestic, repeat, dating, or sexual violence, or stalking that would compromise the mediation process is involved in the case and consider allocation of expenses related to the referral; or refer the parties to counseling if no significant history of domestic, repeat, dating, or sexual violence or stalking that would compromise the process is involved in the case and consider allocation of expenses related to the referral;

(K)     coordinate voluntary binding arbitration consistent with Florida law if no significant history of domestic, repeat, dating, or sexual violence or stalking that would compromise the process is involved in the case;

(L)     appoint court experts and allocate the expenses for the appointments;

(M)    refer the cause for a parenting plan recommendation, social investigation and study, home study, or psychological evaluation and allocate the initial expense for that study;

(N)    appoint an attorney or guardian ad litem for a minor child or children if required and allocate the expense of the appointment;

(O)     schedule other conferences or determine other matters that may aid in the disposition of the action; and

(P)     consider any agreements, objections, or form of production of electronically stored information.

(2)     Adoption Proceedings. A case management conference shall be ordered by the court within 60 days of the filing of a petition when

(A)     there is a request for a waiver of consent to a termination of parental rights of any person required to consent by section 63.062, Florida Statutes;

(B)     notice of the hearing on the petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption is not being afforded a person whose consent is required but who has not consented;

(C)     there is an objection to venue, which was made after the waiver of venue was signed;

(D)     an intermediary, attorney, or agency is seeking fees, costs, or other expenses in excess of those provided under section 63.097 or 63.212(5), Florida Statutes;

(E)     an affidavit of diligent search and inquiry is filed in lieu of personal service under section 63.088(4), Florida Statutes; or

(F)     the court is otherwise aware that any person having standing objects to the termination of parental rights pending adoption.

(b)     Pretrial Conference. After the action is at issue the court itself may or shall on the timely motion of any party require the parties to appear for a conference to consider and determine:

(1)     proposed stipulations and the simplification of the issues;

(2)     the necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;

(3)     the possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and of documents that will avoid unnecessary proof;

(4)     the limitation of the number of expert witnesses; and

(5)     any matters permitted under subdivision (a) of this rule.

(c)     Notice. Reasonable notice shall be given for a case management conference, and 20 days’ notice shall be given for a pretrial conference. On failure of a party to attend a conference, the court may dismiss the action, strike the pleadings, limit proof or witnesses, or take any other appropriate action. Any documents that the court requires for any conference shall be specified in the order. Orders setting pretrial conferences shall be uniform throughout the territorial jurisdiction of the court.

(d)     Case Management and Pretrial Order. The court shall make an order reciting the action taken at a conference and any stipulations made. The order shall control the subsequent course of the action unless modified to prevent injustice.

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