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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 744
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F.S. 744.1075
744.1075 Emergency court monitor.
(1)(a) A court, upon inquiry from any interested person or upon its own motion, in any proceeding over which the court has jurisdiction, may appoint a court monitor on an emergency basis without notice. The court must specifically find that there appears to be imminent danger that the physical or mental health or safety of the ward will be seriously impaired or that the ward’s property is in danger of being wasted, misappropriated, or lost unless immediate action is taken. The scope of the matters to be investigated and the powers and duties of the monitor must be specifically enumerated by court order.
(b) The authority of a monitor appointed under this section expires 60 days after the date of appointment or upon a finding of no probable cause, whichever occurs first. The authority of the monitor may be extended for an additional 30 days upon a showing that the emergency conditions still exist.
(2) Within 15 days after the entry of the order of appointment, the monitor shall file his or her report of findings and recommendations to the court. The report shall be verified and may be supported by documents or other evidence.
(3) Upon review of the report, the court shall determine whether there is probable cause to take further action to protect the person or property of the ward. If the court finds no probable cause, the court shall issue an order finding no probable cause and discharging the monitor.
(4)(a) If the court finds probable cause, the court shall issue an order to show cause directed to the guardian or other respondent stating the essential facts constituting the conduct charged and requiring the respondent to appear before the court to show cause why the court should not take further action. The order shall specify the time and place of the hearing with a reasonable time to allow for the preparation of a defense after service of the order.
(b) At any time prior to the hearing on the order to show cause, the court may issue a temporary injunction, a restraining order, or an order freezing assets; may suspend the guardian or appoint a guardian ad litem; or may issue any other appropriate order to protect the physical or mental health or safety or property of the ward. A copy of all such orders or injunctions shall be transmitted by the court or under its direction to all parties at the time of entry of the order or injunction.
(c) Following a hearing on the order to show cause, the court may impose sanctions on the guardian or his or her attorney or other respondent or take any other action authorized by law, including entering a judgment of contempt; ordering an accounting; freezing assets; referring the case to local law enforcement agencies or the state attorney; filing an abuse, neglect, or exploitation complaint with the Department of Children and Families; or initiating proceedings to remove the guardian.

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude the mandatory reporting requirements of chapter 39.

(5) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, a monitor may be allowed a reasonable fee as determined by the court and paid from the property of the ward. No full-time state, county, or municipal employee or officer shall be paid a fee for such investigation and report. If the court finds the motion for a court monitor to have been filed in bad faith, the costs of the proceeding, including attorney’s fees, may be assessed against the movant.
(6) The court may appoint the office of criminal conflict and civil regional counsel as monitor if the ward is indigent.
History.s. 3, ch. 2006-77; s. 291, ch. 2014-19; s. 3, ch. 2015-83.