IN THE CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR
RE: PROCEDURES FOR BOWEN AND SUBSEQUENT REVIEW HEARINGS IN CASES INVOLVING INTRACIRCUIT EXECUTION OF WRIT OF BODILY ATTACHMENT FOR CIVIL CONTEMPT FOR FAILURE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT
Pursuant to section 38.22, Florida
Statutes, and Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.615, a circuit court may
find a person in civil contempt for failure to pay child support and may issue
a writ of bodily attachment of the contemnor.
This writ may be served by law enforcement personnel outside of the
county where the writ originated. Because
the Sixth Judicial Circuit is comprised of both
Pursuant to Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.615(f), at any time after a contemnor is incarcerated for failure to pay child support, upon the motion of the contemnor or any other party or upon the court’s own motion, the court may review the contemnor’s present ability to comply with the purge conditions, may review the duration of incarceration, and may modify any of its prior orders.
In order to ensure that the contemnor’s due process rights are met, that the Bowen hearing is held within 48 hours as required, that any subsequent review hearings are held expeditiously, and that no hearing is delayed due to transportation of the contemnor between Pasco and Pinellas counties, the Sixth Judicial Circuit has determined that it is appropriate to establish procedures that will apply when a writ of bodily attachment for failure to pay child support was issued in one county within the Sixth Judicial Circuit, but the contemnor is arrested and incarcerated in the other county within the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1. If a person is arrested due to a writ of bodily attachment for civil contempt for failure to pay child support, the Sheriff’s Department of the county where the contemnor was arrested shall schedule a Bowen hearing to take place within 48 hours after arrest and shall:
a. Arrange the Bowen hearing to take place via videoconference from the jail, before a child support hearing officer of the county where the contemnor was arrested and is being held or before the weekend or holiday advisory judge of that county.
This hearing shall be scheduled for the next available time, but not
later than 48 hours after arrest, either on the regular in-custody calendar of the child support hearing officer of the county where the contemnor was arrested or on the weekend or holiday advisory judge’s calendar of that county.
If, for some reason, neither a hearing officer nor a weekend or holiday advisory judge is available to handle the Bowen hearing within 48 hours of contemnor’s arrest, the Sheriff shall contact the Administrative Office of the Courts in the county in which the contemnor was arrested for assistance in scheduling the hearing before a judge within 48 hours of arrest.
b. Prior to the Bowen hearing, provide via facsimile transmission a copy of the recommended order/writ of bodily attachment to the child support hearing officer or to the weekend or holiday advisory judge who will be presiding over the Bowen hearing.
2. The Clerk of the Circuit Court in Pasco County and the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Pinellas County shall establish procedures by which the child support hearing officers and weekend and holiday advisory judges in each county shall have access via computer to the contemnor’s child support payment history from the county where the writ of bodily attachment was issued.
3. If the matter comes before the weekend or holiday advisory judge in the county where the contemnor was arrested, and that judge determines that there is sufficient time remaining for the matter to be reset before a child support hearing officer in that county prior to expiration of the 48 hour period, then the judge, in his or her discretion, may order the matter to be reset on the calendar of the hearing officer in the county of arrest, at the time normally scheduled for hearings involving a party in custody of law enforcement. If, however, the matter cannot be heard by the child support hearing officer within 48 hours after the contemnor was arrested, then the weekend or holiday advisory judge shall hold the Bowen hearing.
4. If, at the Bowen hearing, a finding is made that the contemnor has the present ability to comply with the purge provisions, and thus he or she is ordered to remain incarcerated, but the contemnor has not yet been transported from the county where the he or she was arrested to the county where the writ of bodily attachment was issued, and the contemnor subsequently requests another review of his or her current ability to comply with the purge provisions, as set forth in Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.615(f), then the review hearing shall be scheduled to be held via videoconference at the next available time on the in-custody calendar of a child support hearing officer in the county where the contemnor is currently incarcerated.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at
David A. Demers, Chief Judge
cc: All Judges
The Honorable Bernie McCabe, State Attorney
The Honorable Robert H. Dillinger, Public Defender
Honorable Ken Burke, Clerk of Court,
Honorable Jed Pittman, Clerk of Court,
Betty Henderson, Assistant Court Services Director, Pasco County Clerk’s Office
Carol Heath, Director, Court Services Division, Pinellas County Clerk’s Office
Gay Inskeep, Trial Courts Administrator
Rice, Deputy Courts Administrator,
Marianne Garret, Inmate Records Supervisor, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department
Captain Brian Head, Detention Bureau, Pasco County Sheriff’s Department