COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

To safeguard the health and welfare of the community, no proceedings or court events other than those essential and critical to a state of emergency or to the COVID-19 public health emergency are being conducted in person at the courthouse until May 29, 2020. 

Court Operations

Is the court closed?  - No. Emergency proceedings are being heard in person at the Orange and Osceola County courthouses. All other hearings will be rescheduled or held remotely. Please contact the judicial assistant of the presiding judge for specific information regarding your hearing.

Which hearings are considered emergencies?

  • First appearances
  • Persons seeking emergency injunctions for protection
  • Delinquency detention hearings
  • Emergency shelter hearings
  • Baker Act hearings
  • Guardianship hearings

Which courthouses are conducting emergency proceedings? - Only Orange and Osceola County courthouses are holding emergency proceedings. The outlying Circuit courthouses in Apopka, Winter Park, and Ocoee are currently closed. All hearings at these courthouses will be rescheduled. Please contact the judicial assistant of the presiding judge for specific information regarding your hearing.

Who is allowed into the courthouse? - In-person access to the courthouse is restricted to individuals seeking emergency injunctions, or involved in emergency shelter, Baker Act, or guardianship hearings, etc. For public safety reasons, persons entering the courthouse will undergo a wellness check and, if cleared, will be directed to the proper location.

When will my hearing be rescheduled? - Each division is handling their dockets differently. Hearings will either be held remotely or postponed until the courthouses reopen. The rescheduling of hearings is dependent on the feasibility of conducting proceedings remotely and the length of time the courthouse remains closed. You will receive notification regarding the status of your hearing in the mail once a new date is set. 

How are the courts handling jury trials? - In accordance with Florida Supreme Court administrative order AOSC20-17, all jury trials have been suspended through May 29, 2020.

How is the court handling initial appearances? - To promote social distancing, initial appearances are being held in separate courtrooms at the Orange County Booking & Release Center and between the Osceola County Jail and Osceola County Courthouse.

How can I file with the court? - If you need to file an order for protection (injunction), you will need to come to the Orange or Osceola County courthouse or you may file electronically via the State of Florida e-portal. For information on how to file for divorce, small claims actions, passports, marriage licenses, etc., please visit the following Clerk’s websites: 

What will happen if I miss the deadline to pay my fine? - The Osceola County Clerk of Courts has implemented a 60-day extension of all criminal and traffic payments with due dates from March 13, 2020 through May 22, 2020. The Clerk’s office is unable to extend due dates for court-ordered payments. Payments for the Clerk of Courts can be made online at the following webpages:

Events

Are you still holding events? - All group tours and court-related events (in-person meetings, workshops, and CLE sessions; luncheons; ceremonies; competitions, etc.) have been canceled.

Will Inside the Courts be rescheduled? - Inside the Courts has been postponed with the hopes of rescheduling later this year. Please follow the Circuit’s Facebook or Twitter pages (@NinthCircuitFL) for updates.

Jury Services

I received a summons, am I required to report for jury duty? - If you received a summons to report for duty between March 16 and May 29 – you are not required to report. Your service is complete and you will not be called again for at least 12 months from your scheduled reporting date.

Media

Is the media able to attend and record court proceedings? - Yes, members of the media with court-issued credentials may continue to cover court proceedings at the Orange and Osceola County courthouses. Media are also able to plug in to the pedestal at the Orange County Booking & Release Center to receive the feed.

Updates

What is the best way to get ongoing information? - The easiest and fastest way to keep up to date with changes at the Circuit is to follow us on Twitter or Facebook - @NinthCirctuitFL.