Child Support Claim for Estranged 18-Year-old

Updated on August 11, 2010
M.G. asks from Deerfield, IL
9 answers

Hello ladies,

Long story. I will try to make it short. My husband went through a bitter divorce about 11 years ago. His ex-wife got full custody and he got child support which his employer deducted from his paycheck and mailed to his ex-wife's home. He visitations were inconsitent since his ex always had an excuse as to why his son would not be available on his weekends. She would take him to court to increase child support. She then decided to move out of the country and didn't let my husband say goodbye to his son because she was mad about a tuition payment that we had not met and so she had a hard time getting the transcripts from his school. Around the same time, my husband left his job because of some differences with management. He worked odd jobs to pay our bills. About a month after her departure we received a letter in the mail with her contact information and new mailing address for the child support checks. When my husband called all he got was more complaints about $$. She turned his son against him. So his son refused to talk to him. Since she sabotaged his relationship with his son he didn't send her any checks after he found a permanent job. His son will be 19 in December and we just received a letter from our states child support agency that they had setup and account for her and that he should start making payments while they set something up with his employer. However, it doesn't state an amount due? Why are we just getting a notice now after all these years? I know this is a tough one to answer but I thought that maybe some of you have experience with a similar situation and might be able to shed some light. Thanks

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

How sad for him and his son. I don't know the answer but I think you legally owe back child support. There must be some way to determine an amount.

Child support aside, now that his son is 19, he should try hard to contact him and establish a relationship. Some day his son will probably want to know the truth.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from San Francisco on


Child support and visitation are two very separate issues. It is unfortunate that your husband’s former wife succeeded in preventing him from having a relationship with his son, but it also seems that your husband did little or nothing to have the court do something about the situation. In this country there are laws that can prevent the custodial parent from leaving the county or cross the state line with minor children, without specific permission of the court, let alone move a child out of the country.

It also seems that your husband fell behind in support payments, so he owes back support and perhaps interest. What amount should he pay? He will need to add up the back support, plus the monthly payments that were last court ordered. He should send it through the District Attorney/Family Support office where the divorce was granted and the support ordered.

Since the boy is almost 19, your husband can petition the court to cease any future child support and/or have it lowered if he can prove that he is financially unable to pay the amount originally ordered. He is obligated to pay the back support and either the DA or his former wife could attach his wages, take any income tax refunds and possibly put a lean on your property if he does not.

I would suggest that your husband show good will to the court by starting to pay what he can and explain the situation in writing.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'll tell you what little I know. He will have to pay back-pay of child support. Why?, because even if he was estranged from his son and his son from him, it doesn't take away that he is the father and that he had to support him. Even if they don't have a relationship, he is responsible for his child.
Now that the child is older he will not have to pay anymore in an active file, but he will have to pay based on the years that he didn't pay.
You are better off getting a lawyer or at least doing a consultation and see what the amount will be. If I'm not mistaken your husband will have to go to court to find out what the payments will be, and that will be based on his salary. The only thing I am not sure about is if it will be based on his salary then or now.
I am certain that there is nothing he can do to avoid paying. It's too late for him to take her to court and demand visitations, if he would've done that then, she would've had to let her son come visit on vacation, holidays, etc.
Maybe he can try to mend his relationship with his son now, and try a fresh new start with him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Even if he is 19 he maybe going to college so he will still have to pay. Why didn't he take it upon himself to make sure he got to see his son. Why didn't he take her to court to get it enforced? He owes back support and that must be paid. Who cares how much she complains he should have known better. Children just don't go away because she moves. I sorry but your husband has seemed to drop the ball on this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Yes, he will have to pay back-pay of the child support. It doesn't matter if he saw his child or not. Unfortunately, he should have held her to the divorce decree for visitation, now he is paying the price literally with money but also with his estranged relationship with his son. Of course, hind sight is 20/20. I hope he can salvage his relationship with his son. You are just now getting the notification probably b/c she just now filed papers with the court to get the back-pay. I guess there isn't a statute of limitations on filing for back-pay. I know one parent that is paying off a 10,000 back-pay on their child that is now 28 years old b/c they chose not to pay.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Victoria W said it all...

Child support isn't paying to see your child, it's paying for your share their care and raising.

Even if your SS was 45 years old... if there was 10 years (or 5 or 2) of back support owed by your husband, he would still be legally obligated to pay it to his XW, just like any other debt. She supported him on her own for years, when your husband had a legal and moral obligation to be contributing.

Child support orders vary enormously. Some end at 18. Some end at 22 or 24 or at the completion of a bachelors degree. No matter what, your husband owes the back support. He may still owe currently for the next several years depending on the order.

To find out the details, consult with an attorney.



answers from Minneapolis on

It really doesn't matter if he sees his son or not- it is about supporting the child, not paying to see the child. If she wouldn't let him see his son, then it was your husband's task to take her back to court if he wished to do so. But no matter what, he is still responsible to help support his son.
Maybe it just took her a while to get the state agency to start doing their job of locating your husband and enforcing the support? I know things are usually very slow.
I'm assuming he will just have to pick up from where he stopped paying, and continue to pay until his back support is paid off. Also, if his son is going to college, he may owe child support past the age of 18. It's different for each state, so you should call the child support agency and ask them these questions to get the most accurate answer.



answers from Chicago on

Once the child is 18 and out of high school, he doesn't have to pay child support.

My husband had something similar, his ex relocated to another state and he was order to pay support for the children. After the child turned 18 someone misinform the ex and told her she could get a modification for addtion $$, made a court appearance and the judge told her once the child is 18 and out of school, there is NO more support due.

Could this be for back support?



answers from Pittsburgh on

Agree with PPs--support does not equal visitation. He was wrong to confuse the two issues and stop sending payment. He owes this money and it must be paid.
Call the support agency and ask how much is owed, although they may need to see employment records if there are a lot of years of non-payment involved.
Good luck! (His ex sounds like a real butt head!)

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions