States have gotten increasingly strict in enforcing child-support obligations. If you’re a deadbeat dad (or mom) and think you can outrun your child-support debt by simply waiting until your kids are independent adults, think again.
If you spent years struggling to support a now-grown child without your ex’s much-needed support payments and you think it’s now too late to do anything about it, think again as well. As a California case shows, while diamonds may not be forever (at least as applied to wedding rings), support obligations might.
In the case, Toni Anderson’s husband left when their daughter was three. After his first $160 check bounced, he stopped paying and moved to Canada. Meanwhile Anderson worked as an interior designer to support her daughter on her own. She was pretty successful. Though she lived paycheck-to-paycheck, she sent her daughter to college, and her now-52-year-old daughter runs the firm where her mother worked.
But Anderson, now 74, realized she’d gotten an unfair deal and life could have been much easier all those years. She learned that California has no time limit on support obligations.
She did some digging, learned her ex is now in Oregon, and sought to collect what was initially only a $160-per-month obligation. With interest and attorney fees, she determined he owed her more than $150,000. She took him to court and won.
Unfortunately, the same result won’t happen everywhere. Some states have statutes of limitation for suing for unpaid child support. In other words, you may have only so many years to file before you lose your rights.
So if your ex isn’t meeting his or her obligations, talk to a lawyer today.