Darlene F. Dickey

Circuit Judge
Santa Rosa County
Family Law
Judicial Assistant: 
Noelle Martin; Email: Noelle.Martin@FLCourts1.gov

Santa Rosa County Courthouse
4025 Avalon Blvd.
Milton, Florida 32583


SUBMITTING PROPOSED ORDERS:  All proposed orders are to be submitted via the ePortal, by way of the “Proposed Order” button and selecting Santa Rosa in the drop-down list and selecting the correct Judge. Proposed orders must be in MS Word format. Proposed Final Judgments for Dissolution of Marriage by Special Affidavit should not be submitted until all mandatory documents have been properly filed, the 15-day waiting period has expired, and there are no objections.


SUBMITTING PROPOSED ORDERS AFTER HEARING: Orders memorializing a hearing should be emailed in MS Word format to: noelle.martin@flcourts1.gov only after the opposing party has reviewed and agreed to the language and its entry. DO NOT send competing orders.  If there is a disagreement, the party with the disagreement may send a letter to the Court explaining the requested changes.


SCHEDULING A HEARING: (1) - arrange a conference call with opposing counsel’s office first then contact the Judge’s office; or (2) - email the judicial assistant, include the opposing party/attorney, request available dates and times, and indicate amount of time needed. It is the moving party’s responsibility to coordinate the hearing with opposing party/parties. Due to the high volume of emails, it is not necessary to include the judicial assistant in the coordination process. Once a date is agreed to, the moving party will need to let the judicial assistant know which date was selected, by either calling or emailing the assistant at:  noelle.martin@flcourts1.gov or 850-981-5541; or (3) - obtain dates by phone from the judicial assistant to coordinate with opposing party/parties and then contact the judicial assistant once an agreement is reached. Please provide the following information: case number, title of motion and length of time requested for hearing (This time is split equally between both sides.) The Court does not offer hearing time for motions that are not properly filed in the court record.


NOTE:  The judicial assistant offers first available dates and times to everyone until hearing time has been filled. The judicial assistant does not hold dates and times and hearings are confirmed on a first come, first serve basis. Protecting hearing time on the Judge’s calendar happens only after the judicial assistant has confirmed the date and time. Additional motions may be added to an existing hearing ONLY if all parties agree, time permits, and the party has contacted the judicial assistant to confirm the additional motion. 


NOTICE OF HEARING:  The moving party must prepare, serve, and file the Notice of Hearing. The Notice should include all matters to be heard by the Court; the length of time for the hearings; the location of the hearing; and whether it is in person or by Zoom.


CANCELLING HEARINGS:  Upon determining a hearing is no longer necessary, please cancel the time set aside with the Judge as soon as possible. The ONLY way this office knows of a cancellation is through your notification.  If the hearing is cancelled far enough in advance, the time can be made available to others.

TRIAL/HEARING NOTEBOOKS, EXHIBITS AND CASELAW:  Trial/Hearing notebooks, exhibits and caselaw must be submitted at least 48 hours prior to hearing unless otherwise addressed in your scheduling order.  If proposed exhibits/cases exceed a total of 20 pages, paper copies are required and must be mailed/delivered directly to the Judge's office.  Please plan accordingly so trial/hearing notebooks/exhibits/case law being mailed/delivered will arrive at least 48 hours prior to the hearing. Please do not expect the court to use its resources to print your notebooks, exhibits, caselaw, etc.


VIRTUAL APPEARANCES (ZOOM): 1) Evidentiary hearings are in person unless there is a motion and order approving Zoom; 2) Non-evidentiary hearings thirty (30) minutes or less may be virtual without leave of Court, but the Notice of Hearing must reflect all appropriate Zoom information;  3) Non-evidentiary hearings longer than thirty minutes are in-person unless a proper motion is filed and an order approving virtual appearance is entered.   


MOTIONS TO WITHDRAW/SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL:  In accordance with Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.505, written consent of the client must be filed with the Clerk of Court and opposing counsel (if any) must have no objection to the withdrawal/substitution. If the client has not signed consent and/or opposing counsel has an objection to the withdrawal, a hearing is required.

GENERAL INFORMATION:  All matters to be considered by a Judge should be in the form of a motion, properly filed with the Clerk of Court, and copies provided to all parties of record. The Judge does not automatically receive a copy of every motion filed.  It is the responsibility of the moving party to set the motion for hearing and to coordinate that hearing with counsel of record and the Judge’s office. Merely filing a motion with the Clerk will not bring the matter before the Judge.


EMERGENCY MOTIONS/TRUE EMERGENCIES:  Pleadings containing true emergencies require the immediate attention of the Court.  As a result, there are consequences to designating a pleading an emergency.  Pleadings unjustifiably styled as an emergency not only overburdens the Court’s limited resources but reduces the amount of time the Court has available for other litigants. 


DECORUM:  The Court has adopted the Customary and Traditional Conduct and Decorum guidelines set forth as an Addendum to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida Rules. “These standards are minimal and not all-inclusive. They are intended to emphasize and supplement, not supplant, or limit, the ethical obligations of counsel under the Code of Professional Responsibilities or the time-honored customs of experienced trial counsel.”


All counsel and all person(s) attending hearings and trials should conduct themselves in the following customary and traditional manner:  Stand as court is opened, recessed, or adjourned for all matters held in the courtroom. Stand when the jury enters or retires from the courtroom.  Stand when addressing or being addressed by the court for all matters held in the courtroom. Address all remarks to the court, not to opposing counsel. Avoid disparaging personal remarks or acrimony toward opposing counsel and remain wholly detached from any ill feeling between the litigants or witnesses. Refer to all persons, including witnesses, other counsel, and the parties, by their surnames and not by their first or given names. Counsel should request permission before approaching the bench.

Unless opposing counsel has previously been shown exhibits, any exhibit offered in evidence should, at the time of such offer, be handed to opposing counsel, or any unrepresented party. In making objections, counsel should state only the legal grounds for the objection and should withhold all further comment or argument unless elaboration is requested by the court. Offers of, or requests for, a stipulation should be made privately, not within the hearing of the jury. Counsel shall admonish and discourage all persons (parties, witnesses and observers) from making gestures, facial expressions, audible comments, or the like, as manifestations of approval or disapproval during the testimony of witnesses, or at any other time. Smoking, eating, food and drink are prohibited in the courtroom or chambers at any time; however, water is allowed. See Rules of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.


Judicial Assistants are neither qualified nor able to provide legal advice to anyone. Judicial Assistants may assist with procedural inquiries only.