Written by attorney Timothy W Durkin

Maricopa County Implements Accountability Court

Maricopa County recently implemented a new judicial tool to assist with the enforcement of unpaid child support and spousal maintenance orders. This new tool is called Accountability Court. The Accountability Court’s focus is on the strict enforcement of child support and spousal maintenance orders. Accountability Court is described as a problem-solving court, with the problem being parents and ex-spouses who are in contempt for nonpayment of a support order, and the solution being the motivation of the parent or ex-spouse with the obligation to come up with a reasonable plan to pay down the total amount owed.

The accountability part comes with the ever present specter of jail time for those who fail to obey the support order. Parents and ex-spouses who are referred to Accountability Court are ordered to appear at periodic contempt proceedings until their entire past due support amount is paid and they demonstrate a pattern of consistent payment of their current support order. Parties who are referred to Accountability Court are required to follow the rules of civil procedure. If you are referred to this court, you must carefully comply with all court orders and follow the rules of evidence and procedure.

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