I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma.
There is nothing to prevent the mother
from petitioning the court as she has threatened, however, as a practical matter, courts do not award back support when the parent had the ability to seek support years ago and failed to do so.
Florida statute does allow for a judge to have the discretion to award retroactive support--but for no more than 24 months. SO, even if your child's mother is successful, she will never be able to get 17 years of back support from you.
16.30 Child support guidelines; retroactive child support.--
(17) In an initial determination of child support, whether in a paternity action, dissolution of marriage action, or petition for support during the marriage, the court has discretion to award child support retroactive to the date when the parents did not reside together in the same household with the child, not to exceed a period of 24 months preceding the filing of the petition, regardless of whether that date precedes the filing of the petition. In determining the retroactive award in such cases, the court shall consider the following:
However she can absolutely file a petition at this point and seek child support from this time forward. She will be able to get support until your child reaches the age of 18, or if the child has not yet graduated from high school, support will continue until age 19 or graduation, whichever occurs first.
I wish you well.
Thank you very much for having allowed me to assist you. It would be greatly appreciated if you would click the green Accept icon so that I can receive credit for having assisted you.