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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12323
Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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What do I do?

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What do I do? Recently my 18 yr old daughter informed me that she was filing for back child support payments against me. In 94 divorce, I was suppose to pay monthly support & medical with shared custody. In 97, my x- husband filed for sole custody and asked told me not to worry about CS and medical if I didn't fight him. So at that time I stopped paying when he started sending the checks back. I wasn't allowed to see her again until about 2 yrs ago. But now that my daughter is 18 - she is filing for back payments. So what do I do?
Hello there:

Thank you for entrusting me with your question. I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that, absent a court order to the contrary, a child support order may not be vacated. This means that an informal agreement to stop support is not valid and the debt will continue to accrue for the life of the order.

The good news is that a child cannot enforce a child support order. The support is generally owed to the parent, not the child. The child has no standing to request payment of the support. This does not get the debtor parent "out of the woods" with regard to the support obligation because the other parent can still enforce the unpaid amount, but it eliminates the danger of the child enforcing the order.

If the other parent acknowledges that the money is not owed, you can generally stipulate to an order terminating any outstanding arrears with that parent. For this process, I would typically recommend the assistance of legal counsel.

I understand that you may have follow-up questions. Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Does the child not being able to claim back support apply to Massachusetts as well?
What matters is not where the child is located but where the order was made. I apologize if I misunderstood--you listed Oklahoma as the "State/Country relating to Question". Is this an Oklahoma court order or a Massachusetts court order? My answer was for Oklahoma, so I will just need to ask a few more questions if it is a Massachusetts order.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Oklahoma court order- however she is filing in Massachusetts
Was a change of venue ever filed with the Oklahoma court? You would know if it was.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
i dont know what a change of venue is, but the divorce was adopted or accept by Massachusetts court in 97.
I apologize for the slight delay. I was consulting with some of our other attorneys to ensure that the forthcoming answer is accurate.

The laws are slightly different in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, child support arrears must be enforced within 20 years from the date that the obligation becomes due, compared to Oklahoma where there is no statute of limitations. However, in Massachusetts, a child still cannot collect on an outstanding child support obligation. Child support is owed to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child; it is not paid to the child for the benefit of the child. The money is owed to the parent, not the child. If the child could collect, it would rob the custodial parent of their right to collect. A child has no standing to demand payment of past-due support on their own behalf.

I hope that this helps. Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
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