Back Child Support

Updated on August 29, 2009
R.S. asks from Hollywood, FL
18 answers

My husband has a child that he has never paid child support on. The mother took the child out of state and he didnt know where they went. She now has contacted my husband almost 20 years later. Is he going to be required to pay back child support? How do we proceed?

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answers from Miami on

Take this issue to the public office of child support. Google and ask the authorities. I cannot imagine that she has any right to back support if there was no divorce decree, child support agreement and that he's 20 years old. Good luck



answers from Orlando on

I would not have any contact with the mother at all and when and if she filed legally for back support, you have the option to either pay the support or pay for an attorney. You are likely to come out ahead by paying for the attorney.

Either way this is going to cost you guys something unfortunately. :(

More Answers


answers from Jacksonville on

Yes, it is possible. But without knowing more details, it is impossible to know. I used to work for an attorney whose contract with the state was specifically to collect child support, so I know a little about this sort of thing. Have your husband talk with a family law attorney who has some experience in "interstate" child support issues.

Was he married to the mother of the child? If so, his divorce decree probably specifies some amount and method of paying support. If he was required to pay into a depository (Domestic Relations, etc), then it doesn't matter that he didn't know what her address was. If he was to pay directly to her, the follow up question from the lawyer's perspective would be: "so if you didn't pay because you didn't know where to send it, then you have all the money set aside in an account to pay NOW, right?". Obviously, if he had visitation issues, then the onus would have been on him to have pursued them ... her not fulfilling her end does not allow him to just not pay support. Suspending support would be something he would have had to have pursued (modification) through legal action (even if he didn't know where she was currently residing, he could file a motion to enforce visitation and send it to her last known address and the address she used in the divorce). Also, if she received AFDC (welfare) then the state from which she received it may be looking for reimbursement. Visitation and child support are generally treated as two separate issues by the court. The child support is the right of the child (to aid in providing for him/her) not the mother. If she is not receiving it while the child is in her care/custody/control, then she is spending more of "her" own resources since she has none from him. So, even if the child is grown/emancipated (or even deceased), if there was a court order for him to pay support, and he did not... then the custodian of the child has the right to pursue the debt at a later time - and no, she doesn't have to give it to the child.. it would be her money (or the state's).

Often times when the parents part ways and there is no contact between the absent parent and the child, the absent parent tends to wait until someone comes looking.... but it doesn't necessarily mean that they only have to provide support from when they are located and pursued. Often, the support begins to "run" beginning with the initial filing of the petition for support...

So, as you can see,.. there are a LOT of factors and unknowns here... I highly recommend he meet with an attorney and take any and every document he has relative to this child and it's mother. If he has a divorce decree from her, take it. If he has a copy of the birth certificate, take it. If he sent her ANY money... take receipts. If she sent any nasty letters saying she didn't want his money, take it. You get the idea.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Not by Florida laws. Once the child turns 18 and is not in school, the case is closed! I think this practice is truly unfair, but this is Florida! I was owed 11 years of non payments and it was only $37.00 a month! How "chintzie" is that for a father!!! I raised my son 14 years by myself till I met a true Father!!! I pray that the laws will change to benefit the children & single parents till the children collect all that is owed!!!
Kathy N.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

R. I totally believe in Fathers paying child support but heck after 20 yrs I thin that is a bit much. Besides she shouldn't get the money the kid should I would fight it if you have too. She never got in touch with him before so why now if the kid is older. I think she is looking for money and nothing to do with the kid. Fight it.



answers from Tampa on

You should contact your local Child support office they will for sure be able to answer any questions.



answers from Orlando on

By my understanding, you can only go back 13 years for back support. Unless a case was established at the time of birth/seperation and nothing was paid on it, she cannot collect 20 years (really only 18 years) of support. My sister just petitioned for child support on her 13-year-old son and was told she is just barely within the time limit to get full back payments. I would strongly urge you to go to both child support and a family lawyer specializing in child support.

Good luck!



answers from Miami on

I agree with the individual that said you should "contact an attorney with more information".
If you cannot afford or justify a $200. to $400. an hour attorney, there IS an affordable alternative in a "legal service plan". You can view a 7 minute overview at:, or, listen to a brief pre-recorded overview by dialing ###-###-####

If you have any questions, you can contact me directly at 888-448-1489 and I'll be happy to help! Good luck!



answers from Tampa on

If she ran an ad in the paper looking for him at the time she is 100% qualified for child support.. If not you may be able to fight it. But my husband works with a man that is just now having to pay child support on his 20 year old son.
Tell you husband not to talk to her at all. Ignore all her calls. She will have to go to court and prove that she tried to contact him at the time she took the child. If he still lives in the same place as when she took him he has a good case. The law states in order to claim child support you have to contact the father when you first leave with the child. He should have filed kidnapping charges when she left with him.
His biggest mistake is to communicate with her at all. If she wants money let her go through the courts. If that happens and he can prove that she did not try to contact him at the time she left for child support he more than likely will be in the clear. The law states the mother has to try to locate the father.
Good Luck, I feel for you...



answers from Fort Myers on

A friend of mine works in Fort Myers on family law issues.
Contact Pablo Hurtado for information at

Ruhl Law Group:
Ft Myers: ###-###-####
Punta Gorda: ###-###-####
Sarasota: ###-###-####

Good Luck,



answers from Punta Gorda on

For sure get an attorney! They can garnish his wages, take his driver's license, even suspend his passport, or refuse to issue him a passport. Good Luck!



answers from Boca Raton on

I would think that contacting an attorney would be a good thing just to make sure. Is he listed as the child's father? was he ever under any obligation to pay CS before?

What exactly is she contacting him about - 20 years later?



answers from Miami on

You need to contact a lawyer or the child support unit for your area to get a better answer that you can count on, but from my experience and last I've heard she can only go back two years. My mom once questioned getting back child support for my brother and an attorney had told her at that time that she can only go back two years but regardless the best thing you can do is ask a professional laws change and the circumstances may be different as well. Good luck!!



answers from Ocala on

I have learned harsh lessons dealing with child support. if she filed thru the courts when she first moved and the court rules in favor of him paying child support then he owes it. if she didn't and she is just trying at this point to get money then i say fight it. my issue is CSE won't go after my ex for his back child support because i don't have an address for him now :/ of course he won't give me a current address the man hates me and his myspace pages tells how much. i have full custody of my kids thru DCF and i won't let him see them because of various reasons one being he must be supervised and second the youngest never met him before she was 4 my current husband has been "daddy" since she was 1 my 8 yr old just can't stand him and he gets very frustrated with her and i won't chance that. the oldest loves her real dad but then the major contribution come into play. when i was letting them see him at his moms house i was expected to pay the gas (30) miles both way 2 times a week. he would never keep hem over night i was expected to take them to his house leave them for a few hours then go back and do this the next day as well. and supply their food while they were with him. i wasn't getting child support nor food stamps so between the gas and food it got to be too much. he was expecting the benifits but not the financial responsibilities of being a father so i finally nipped it in the bud and told him when he gets a job and starts paying he can see them again. i just can't afford it and not fair for my husband who is raising these kids and supporting these kids to pay for a dead beat dad to see these kids and since im a SAHM he is the sole support its more his call and not going to end my marriage by fighting what is his right to say no to that being he is not going to pay for this other man to benefit from. that being said i would definitely talk to a lawyer about the situation.



answers from Boca Raton on

Contact an attorney with more information.



answers from Pensacola on

Yeah R., exactly what Victoria said.
Pray. Good luck!




answers from Daytona Beach on

Hello R. S

your husband's child's mother can not demand for him to pay her for a child support she may uses him for money without proof though Child Support Enforcment (CSE).

Child support enforcment agency always involved between parents and have trace and evidence where non-custodial parents send money go direct to CSE then CSE send money to custodial parent the money. CSE can contact your husband for child support issues, when child support enforcment always send you a bill then, your husband pay direct to child support enforcement as 3rd party they send a check to mother.

It looked like she did not report or inform to CSE that your husband back child support that mean CSE did not send you a bill to pay. also, she did not file for contempt against your husband that length time. I advise wait to see if she did inform CSE or file contempt which legal processing. your husband should hire family law attorney then they will explain the judge your husband have not see a child for long time judge probably waive or reduce child support because she did not report to CSE or filed contempt for length time. Unless If your husband has a visitation right under court order, your husband can crosscounter against her for contempt that she failed inform your husband where she and her kid live, while you have a visitation right.
CSE did not involve a visitation right, medical bills like that. Best way to hire a LAWYER whose specializes in visitation,child support,divorce, etc... at once.

Do not worry about her, ignore her verbal, Let her waste of her breath (BLAH BLAH BLAH) Until you get served from court or CSE then, your husband should hire family law attorney, let everything go straight things out.

I agree with Victoria W

good luck



answers from Tampa on

i believe child support only goes 2 years back, so if it has been 20 years i assume the child was atleast 18 two years ago therefore there should be minimal if any child support owed.

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