If you are an adult child and want to sue your parent for unpaid child support don’t get too excited: usually, the law is not on your side. I know that you might feel that your outrage is justified. However, child support is owed to the other parent and, to be more specific, it is not a debt owed to the child. Therefore, if there is an unpaid child support, it is totally up to your parent to sue your other parent for their irresponsible actions. But don’t lose your hope just yet: there still are a couple of ways that you can sue for back child support. Moreover, there are some situations where a parent may owe child support regardless of the child reaching adulthood.
Who Goes the Unpaid Child Support to?
The answer is simple: it goes to the other parent. With that in mind, you actually can help your parent, the one who is taking care of you, to get the child support, which was wrongfully withheld. So, what you can do is get them to pursue a claim. Then, you should find a lawyer who is experienced in child support cases. And your suit might succeed and it might not. In any case, keep in mind that the money collected will go to your parent and not to you.
Special Lawsuit in Arrears
With the intention of giving you a bit of hope, I will say that there is a little wiggle room for an adult child to sue for child support in arrears. But that is true only if you are the representative of your custodial parent’s estate. If the term “in arrears” is not familiar to you here is what it means: a parent failed to complete the child support payments, therefore, owes back child support. Moreover, in a court order, the adult child who is the representative of the custodial parent’s estate can sue for back child support.
Since everything related to law is complicated and does not always go smoothly, keep in mind that there might arise issues with lawsuits for child support in arrears. In facts, laws on back child support can differ from state to state. Some states have a statute of limitations on enforcing a court order. Moreover, there are a couple of applications that you should consider before you file a lawsuit. First of all, a previous judgment by the court that ordered child support payments is a must. Then, the parent in arrears must owe the custodial parent child support. Moving on, the state law must allow the judgment to merge with the custodial parent’s estate. Furthermore, the adult child had to be court-appointed as the custodial parent’s state representative.
Adult Child with Disabilities
In most cases, when a child turns 18, that is when the child support ends. But the case with disabled children is different. If the child has a specific disability that does not let them earn a living and support themselves on their own, the law is here to help. If you are interested how the court calculates the amount of child support, here is how: the same way they would calculate it for a minor. However, any money that is granted by the government to supplement their income counts in the whole calculation process.
Another instance where an adult child can sue for unpaid child support is when the custodial parent is deceased. At this point, you can collect the money if you represent their estate, because the money is still owed to the deceased parent’s estate.
It’s Time to find a Lawyer
By now you already got the idea of how complex the law can be. There are many factors that need to be taken into account when you want to sue for unpaid child support. Different state laws can complicate your case. Doing it on your own might sound great in the beginning. In fact, you might not have money for hiring a lawyer. However, without a lawyer, your chances of winning your case decrease enormously. If you are not sure whether or not you will prevail in suing your parent, consult with an attorney. After you find out what your chances are, it will be easier to make up your mind. Remember, that a qualified family law lawyer can walk you through state laws and restrictions.
Bill Gates once said, “Life is not fair. Get used to it.” And he was true. Sometimes things just not work out the way they should have or the way we wanted to. Fighting for fairness is always a difficult battle. But it is not an impossible one. So if you are an adult child who wants fairness for their unpaid child support, go for it. The Margarian Law Firm’s experienced family law lawyers are here to help.