Family Conference Center: Frequently Asked Questions


The Family Conference Center is committed to helping parents find constructive ways to resolve their disputes, so that children may grow up in a healthier climate, and become successful.

In 1987, the Arizona legislature established new procedures to expedite public access to the courts for the enforcement of court orders concerning child support, spousal support (maintenance), and parenting time. Expedited Services was created in 1988 by the Clerk's office to assist the Court, and on July 1, 2004, was transferred to Superior Court. The Family Conference Center, a unit within the Family Department, was established in October of 2006 to assist the Support Enforcement Court, the Parenting Time Enforcement Court, and the Child Support Court for all child support, and enforcement matters.

If support payments are not paid, are late, or parents are interfering with court-ordered parenting time, parties may file a petition for enforcement of the orders.

 The Family Conference Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm and closed on Court Holidays.

201 W. Jefferson Street, Third Floor, Phoenix, Arizona 85003

Phone: 602-506-1561 or FAX: 602-506-1670

 

222 E. Javelina Ave, Suite 1300, Mesa, Arizona 85210

Phone: 602-506-1561 or FAX: 602-506-3272

 

14264 W. Tierra Buena Lane, Surprise, Arizona 85324

Phone: 602-506-1561 or FAX: 602-372-9449

 

18380 N. 40th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85032

Phone: 602-506-1561 or FAX: 602-372-7923

Through filing an eligible petition, the Family Conference Center will assist parties with the following:

  • Establishment of Child Support
  • Modification of Child Support
  • Enforcement of Child Support
  • Enforcement of Child Support Arrears
  • Enforcement of Spousal Support
  • Enforcement of Spousal Support Arrears
  • Enforcement of Medical Insurance Coverage
  • Enforcement of Parenting Time
  • Enforcement of Uncovered Medical and Dental Expenses

The Court may also order the Family Conference Center to monitor:

  • Child Support
  • Spousal Maintenance
  • Parenting Time
  • Uncovered Medical and Dental Expenses

No, parties may represent themselves; however, attorneys representing the parties are welcome.

The conference and hearing will be set 14-45 days from the time of filing. You will need to serve the Order to Appear on the responding party no later than two weeks prior to the conference.

A conference is a proceeding held in the Family Conference Center with the other party to talk about your case and to try to reach an agreement.

This conference is facilitated by a Family Conference Officer.

A court employee of the Family Conference Center who is neutral and does not represent either party.

No, recording devices such as cameras, laptops, smart phones, or audio recorders, cannot be taken into the Family Conference Center, or into the courtroom.

Cell phones and electronic devises must be completely turned off.

A record of the courtroom proceeding is made digitally. To order a copy, please call Electronic Record Services for Maricopa County Superior Court at 602-506-7100.

Please allow up to two hours for your appointment.

The conference is scheduled for 75 minutes and the subsequent hearing is scheduled for 45 minutes. If an agreement is reached during the conference, the hearing will be cancelled.

Any document that pertains to the issues and/or the items listed on the order to appear you received at the time of service; or the minute entry you received in the mail that informed you of the date, time, and location of the conference and subsequent hearing.

Children will not be allowed in the conference or hearing and may not be left unattended. Only the parties to the action and their attorneys may attend the conference.

The courtroom is open to the public.

The Conference Officer will attempt to mediate an agreement between the parties of the issues filed with the court.

The court's goal is to provide the parties with a final resolution of the pending petition. If the parties do not reach a full agreement on all of the issues identified in their petition, a Judicial Officer will conduct the evidentiary hearing immediately following the conference to determine the matters.

If good cause is shown that additional discovery, or hearing time, is needed in order for the Judicial Officer to reach a just determination, the court may schedule an additional hearing.

 

A request to attend the conference and hearing by telephone must be made in writing and delivered to the Family Conference Center two weeks prior by either USPS, fax, or hand delivery to any of the locations.

An appearance conducted before a Family Judicial Officer to receive evidence and make findings, recommendations, and/or orders relating to support or parenting time.

The Judicial Officer will most likely be a Court Commissioner, who is a person appointed by the Presiding Judge of a county, pursuant to the Arizona Constitution and the Arizona Revised Statutes.

No, "ex-parte" communication, where one party speaks to a court officer outside the other party's presence, is not allowed.

In order to maintain a neutral position, all communication must take place in the presence of all parties. This applies to both written and oral communication.

Documentation provided at the conference will be returned to the parties at the conclusion of the conference.

Payments must include the Obligor's name, ATLAS number, and court case number and be mailed to:

Support Payment Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 52107
Phoenix, AZ 85072-2107

Your action will be dismissed after 120 days if you do not have the other party served. Please review To Serve Notice in Family Court Cases.

If you have made numerous attempts to serve the other party, or if he/she is avoiding service, you may look into other means of service approved by the court. Please review Helpful Information on Serving the other Party.

You MUST file a request to reschedule and certify that you have provided copies to the other party and the Judicial Officer assigned to your case. The court will not approve requests to reschedule without specific reasons out of the party's control or good cause.

No, if there is a pending petition, or a cross petition, to modify legal decision-making, parenting time, and child support, all issues will be heard by the Judicial Officer assigned to your case.

ezCourtForms has an online child support calculator that will help determine child support obligations.

You can access ezCourtForms from most computers and at all Law Library Resource Centers located at each Maricopa County Superior Court.

If you have a Maricopa County parenting time order, you may petition the court for a hearing and request for supervised parenting time. Ultimately, the court makes the decision.


Family Presiding Judge
Bruce R. Cohen

Brian Bledsoe

Brian Bledsoe
Family Department Administrator
Contact the Family Department

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