What is Accountability Court?

During a divorce or paternity matter, the judge reviews the information provided and issues a final decree. The order typically includes details of the legal responsibilities of each party. One of the most important parts of the order is support. Some people wonder, what is accountability court, and how is it helpful to me? Accountability court is designed to assist people when child support orders are in arrears.

Referral to Accountability Court

Accountability court is for those who are chronically delinquent and not for use when just one or two payments have been late or missed. The payor must present to the Court periodically (every month, alternating months, once every three months, or another schedule set by the Court) to advise the Court as to their payment status and what efforts they’ve made to pay. The Court determines based on that presentation (plus the presentation of the State Attorney General if involved), whether the payor is current or delinquent in their obligation and what consequences will result if delinquent.

Sanctions Issued by the Accountability Court Commissioner

Sanctions may include holding the party in jail until a payment is made. The commissioner will determine a portion of the amount owed and order this “purge payment” to be made before the party is released.

Goal of Accountability Court

The goal of Accountability Court is to get payors back on track in their payments.  The courts do not want to keep offenders in jail, but rather work towards finding a solution that will allow the parties to repay the amount owed in a timely fashion such that the payor is not continuing in their delinquency. The program is helpful in keeping the finances of families flowing properly, and in ensuring that children receive the money they need to cover their expenses.

If your former spouse or other parent is behind in payments, you may need to take action. It is usually best to deal with the situation before the payments are severely in arrears. Contact the experienced legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to discuss your options today.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Accountability Court, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Sheri D. Shepard at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full-service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.