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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26141
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including family law.
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I am the father of 4 sons, the youngest being 30yrs old as

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I am the father of 4 sons, the youngest being 30yrs old as of may. I received papers today saying that I owe $44,000+ in back child support. Can this be possible after 12yrs from the youngest turning 18. The 2 middle sons were living with me thru their high school years until graduation. Then the youngest moved in for the last 3 years of high school.
Submitted: 1 year ago via ChildSupportLaws.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

That sounds odd...that is, it is odd to claim back support after so many years.

But can you provide some context? Was there ever a child support order issued? If so did you pay on that?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

when the divorce first took place. & payments were made up until the 2 middle boys moved in with me. Then was agreed since I had 2 & she had 2 that no payments were necessary, in fact the man she was living with at the time, it was his suggestion & all was in agreement.


The att gen has even sent for my employer to hold out monthly payments.


 

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Ahh....that is a problem.

If you had a court order to pay and you did not pay?? that is a significant problem.

Is there a reason you did not go to court to change this? Was it because you had the children full time?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


yes the children were living with me full time & we thought because we were all in agreement everything was ok. This is the first time I have received anything about this.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thank you

I am sorry to be the one to have to bear bad news...you are going to need a lawyer for this...or, you should consider hiring a lawyer.

Here is why....

Under the law, when there is a valid court order for payment of support, that order stays in force unless or until it is lifted by the court.

So back many years ago, when you stopped paying (since you had, on your own, modified custody), you were technically in contempt (violation) of the order.

So technically, the AG can try and force you to pay.

But what you describe? You have a good claim that you should not be force to pay.

The argument is based on a few legal principals

1. Equity. While it is true, you broke the order...no one suffered. SO you have a great argument you should not have to pay (since the mom agreed to the modification at the time, since your costs increased, this would be a "no harm/no foul" argument").

2. The legal doctrine of laches. This doctrine holds that if one party waits a long period of time to bring a legal claim and the delay causes harm to the other party's case, they can ask the case be dismissed based on laches.

The stronger argument is the equity argument.

But understand that is not a complete defense.

You had a legal duty to pay the support...you did not. Again, technically you were (are) in violation of the order. So the court can hold you to this...and the AG can take steps to enforce the order.

I would sure try and reason with the AG...perhaps they will reduce or drop it...but if they do not? YOu need to go to court and request to dismiss based on equity and laches


Please let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26141
Experience: 16 yrs. of experience including family law.
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