Judge Helm

Charles L.W. Helm

Circuit Judge

Judicial Assistant: Nancy Gugliotta
Fax: 352-742-4240

Communication with the Court

To schedule hearings, please send an e-mail to: JudgeHelmHearingRequest@circuit5.org.
(Please see below for more details about scheduling hearings.)

Your email should include the names of parties and case number. Proposed orders and hearing materials should be directed to the email addresses below.

All other parties to the case (or their attorneys, if they are represented) must be copied on all correspondence. These guidelines apply to all communications with the Court, including scheduling hearings and submitting proposed orders.

Scheduling and Cancelling Hearings

Prior to scheduling a motion for hearing, the motion sought to be heard must be filed.

Scheduling of a hearing shall be done by sending an email to JudgeHelmHearingRequest@circuit5.org. All other parties to the case (or their attorneys, if they are represented) shall be copied on the correspondence. Your e-mail should include the style of the case, the name(s) of the motion(s) you wish to have heard, and the amount of time you are requesting. In the event a telephone call is needed to coordinate the hearing, please provide a phone number at which you and the opposing party/attorney can be reached. A courtesy copy of the motion should be attached to the e-mail. This will allow the Court to review the motion in the event that it has not been processed through the e-portal.

In an effort to ensure that cases are resolved as promptly and efficiently as possible, and to minimize the time it takes parties to get hearing times, the Court will be available for short matters hearings via Zoom.  Matters that are appropriate for short matters hearings are things that can be accomplished in less than fifteen (15) minutes. Because these hearings will be conducted remotely, they ordinarily should not involve the introduction of evidence other than testimony. If you would like to request a short matters hearing, please note that in your email and every effort will be made to accommodate your request.

The Judicial Assistant will offer hearing dates and times to the parties. Should none of the provided date/times offered work, proof of conflict must be provided to the Court in compliance with Florida Rule of General Practice and Procedure 2.550. If one party is pro se and the hearing can be scheduled with sufficient notice to the pro se party, the hearing will not need to be coordinated with the pro se party. The party requesting the hearing will be asked to prepare and file a notice of hearing.

Before cross-noticing an additional motion for a previously scheduled hearing, the attorneys and/or pro se party must contact the Judicial Assistant so the Court can determine if sufficient time is available to have the motion(s) heard together.

Noticed hearings may only be cancelled with the approval of the Court. If you wish to cancel a hearing that has been previously scheduled, you must email JudgeHelmHearingRequest@circuit5.org and state the reason for the cancellation.

If the Court approves the hearing being cancelled, you will be asked to prepare and file a notice of cancellation.

Domestic Relations Hearings and Trials

Short Matters

Information on setting short matter hearings is contained under the “Scheduling and Cancelling Hearings” tab.


When a domestic relations case is ready for trial, any party may file a notice that the action is at issue. A courtesy copy should be sent to JudgeHelmHearingRequest@circuit5.org

Upon the Court’s receipt of the notice, the Court will schedule the matter for a case management conference via ZOOM. At the case management conference, the Court will schedule the case for a pretrial conference and trial.

Case Management Conferences

The Court may, from time to time, order case management conferences on its own initiative. The Court may also hold case management conferences at the request of a party. Case management conferences will generally be held via ZOOM. Any party desiring the Court to hold a case management conference should email JudgeHelmHearingRequest@circuit5.org

Proposed Orders

All proposed orders shall be submitted in Microsoft Word format (.docx) via email to JudgeHelmProposedOrders@circuit5.org

Please do not send paper orders, as we endeavor to be a paperless office. Proposed orders should be accompanied by a cover letter that indicates whether the order is agreed-upon by all parties and a courtesy copy of the motion to which the order relates. This will allow for more expeditious consideration of the matter. Proposed orders may be submitted in advance of scheduled hearings.

All proposed orders shall include a certificate of service in compliance with Florida Rule of General Practice and Procedure 2.516.  The certificate of service shall contain language substantially similar to the following:

“I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing has been provided through electronic service and/or regular U.S. mail to the following parties.” The parties shall then be listed.

Failure to provide the required certificate of service may result in the Court’s rejection of the proposed order and request for a new order.

Please double-check your orders to ensure the caption includes the correct circuit (Fifth Judicial Circuit) and county (Lake County).

In cases involving a self-represented litigant who is not participating in electronic service through the e-filing portal, the proposed order must include language that the represented party will serve the order through regular U.S. mail on the self-represented party and certify said service through a filed notice of service within five (5) days of the entry of the order.  This provision is an effort to eliminate the costs of providing copies and self-addressed stamped envelopes to the Court with proposed orders.  Failure to include this language may result in the Court’s rejection of the proposed order and request for a new order.

Zoom and Telephonic Appearances

All evidentiary hearings and trials scheduled in-person will be held at the Lake County Judicial Center, located at 550 W. Main Street, Tavares, Florida 32778, unless ordered otherwise. Hearings will be held in Courtroom 1C if it is available. If Courtroom 1C is not available, hearings will be held in the Judge’s chambers (Suite 3, North Wing) or another location in the Lake County Judicial Center.

Requests to appear at an evidentiary hearing via audio/video communication platform(s), such as telephone or Zoom, must generally be made by the filing of a motion and will only be allowed by court order.

All virtual hearings held through Zoom utilize Meeting ID: 936 5599 1254. The Court will not send out individual meeting invites.  All participants to a virtual hearing must join with a functional camera, speaker, and microphone.  The camera must remain active for the entire hearing.  If a participant is unable to have an active camera, the hearing should be held in-person or telephonically to avoid concerns about unobservable communication or behavior amongst other participants.  Virtual hearings are only recorded when required by Florida law, and no party shall record the proceedings except the Court.

Attorneys appearing on behalf of a client at a virtual hearing are expected to dress and conduct themselves in the same manner as if in a traditional courtroom.  The environment from which a participant joins must be free from noises, distractions, or environmental interference.

Participants shall identify any other individuals present with them to the Court and opposing counsel.  The parties must comply with Fifth Judicial Circuit Administrative Order A-2021-58. Where not inconsistent, the parties should also follow The Florida Bar Recommended Best Practice for Remote Court Proceedings. Failure to comply with these provisions may result in the Court’s rescheduling of the hearing to be held in-person.

*NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC:* The Code of Judicial Conduct governing behavior by judges forbids the Judges of the Fifth Judicial Circuit to discuss pending cases with the public. Please do not call the Court expecting to speak with a Judge about any case. The Court is only allowed to consider arguments made in the courtroom and in documents properly filed by actual parties in the case as authorized by law and the Rules of Court. The Court cannot ethically read or consider any other opinions or arguments about the case. Communications that do not meet these legal requirements cannot be forwarded to the Judges.