October 17, 2019

Are Parental Accountability Courts a Reasonable Alternative to Jail for Delinquent Child Support Payers?

Further, fathers who are already delinquent are less likely to be involved in their childrens’ lives, and once a non-custodial parent falls behind by several thousand dollars, he will likely be a child support debtor for years.

Speaking about long time non-payers, a local Superior Court judge notes that parental accountability courts will “take their excuses away” and address the underlying problem of most delinquencies – lack of work.

What do you think of the concept of parental accountability courts?   Georgia has improved from 47th in the nation to 28th in the rate of current child support, and costs to participating Georgia counties related to incarceration have dropped as well.

As a bankruptcy lawyer, I have been involved in cases where we put past due child support into Chapter 13 repayment plans (we had to secure the agreement of the custodial parent and/or state child support enforcement office) and those cases often worked.  You cannot, by the way, discharge delinquent child support obligations in bankruptcy.

Is there a potential for abuse?  Certainly, but incarceration for non-payment seems to be a remedy best used in cases where the non-custodial parent has the funds to pay but will not.




Jonathan Ginsberg practices Social Security disability law in Atlanta, Georgia.  He represents clients in claims before the Social Security Administration.

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  1. Save the Turnips says

    How many of these “Deadbeats” are really people who have fallen on hard times? Underemployment, unemployment, medical reasons – not excuses . . . . they are real reasons people fall behind. I am so sad when people are automatically labeled as bad people when they are trapped by a system set up for them to fail.

    Save the Turnips. 🙂

  2. I have custody of my daughter and was granted 287 s month child support. In 2010 her dad became disabled and she began receiving benefits on his behalf. How are the funds to b spent when she goes to visit him, over any period of time. The state closed muy child support case because of the benefits received. Do her benefits cancel out any child support origanally ordered before he bacame disabled? Or am I suppose to still get my monthly support plus her benefits

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