WHEREAS, Rule 12.491(b)(2)(c), Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure grants the chief judge of each judicial circuit the authority to appoint support enforcement hearing officers for the circuit as are necessary to expeditiously perform the duties prescribed by the Family Law Rules of Procedure; and
WHEREAS, financial grant funds have been awarded to the Third Judicial Circuit by the Department of Revenue for the purposes of funding services of a support enforcement hearing officer; and
WHEREAS, the interests of the public, litigants, and judiciary require a flexible and speedy system of the resolution of proceedings involving the establishment, modification, and enforcement of child support;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
ORDERED, a Hearing Officer Program is hereby established within the Third Judicial Circuit and shall be effective in Columbia County, Dixie County, Hamilton County, Lafayette County, Madison County, Suwannee County and Taylor County. JANICE FOLEY BESSINGER, ESQUIRE, a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, is hereby appointed as a Support Enforcement Hearing Officer for the Third Judicial Circuit with all powers authorized by Rule 12.491.
Upon the filing of a cause of action or other proceeding for the establishment, enforcement, or modification of child support wherein the party seeking support is receiving services pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1302), or not receiving services (non IV-D proceedings), the Clerks in Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor Counties shall refer such cases to the Support Enforcement Hearing Officer for scheduling and handling pursuant to Rule 12.491.
The General Assignment Order designates the judges responsible in each county for reviewing and signing orders submitted by the Support Enforcement Hearing Officer and to preside over cases in which the Support Enforcement Hearing Officer may be unable to preside due to recusal or disqualification. In instances where the Support Enforcement Hearing Officer is unavailable for an extended period of time, a Third Judicial Circuit Quasi-Judicial officer, who is qualified pursuant to Rule 12.491, may be appointed to preside as the Child Support Hearing Officer on a temporary basis.
DONE AND ORDERED this 13th day of March 2008, at Lake City, Columbia County, Florida.