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Can back child support be collected if the child is over 18?

Stone Mountain, GA |
Attorney answers 5


It depends on whether or not the child emancipated. I suggest you contact a local family law attorney to discuss your options. Best of luck to you.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


If you are the recipient of support under a court order, that order can be enforced.

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Child support arrears accrued under a child support order are not forgiven. The debt persist until it is paid off. Further you should note that until a parent moves the court to terminate the obligation (even if the child is over 18) the obligation continues. You don't get "off the hook" for nonpayment simply b/c the child turns age 18.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney


Child support can always be enforced and collected so long as there was an order in place prior to the child reaching the age of 18 years of age. If you have never filed a contempt action (asserting a violation of the order has occurred) or a modification of the obligation (seeking more money for child support), you may not know the whereabouts of the other parent. If on the other hand you do know the other parent's address and have never sought the assistance of the court or child support enforcement agency perhaps you already know that the parent is insolvent and collecting will be quite difficult. Whatever the circumstances may be you absolutely have the legal right to seek back child support or arrears. I encourage you to seek the assistance of a competent attorney familiar with this area of the law.

This answer serves as a guide and does not establish an attorney-client relationship with the person posing the question. I am licensed to practice law in Georgia. You should always seek competent, legal counsel to provide you with advice for your jurisdiction. My responses are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship and none of my responses are provided as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.


So, first, was there ever a child support order (legal document signed by a JUDGE)? Either as part of a divorce, a legitimation case, or in a child abandonment action? Without an order, it will be very difficult. But you wrote the phrase "back child support," which sounds like there was an order. If so, you get to the second question: Do you know where the other parent lives or works? Even better, do you know his or her social security number? I would then consult Child Support Enforcement, which charges only limited expenses, especially if the other parent is out of state. There is a procedure whereby the CSE office here can get the equivalent office in the other state to bring the other parent to court to answer. You can find GA Child Support Enforcement on the internet, but make sure it is Georgia's.

The suggestions in my response above are based only on the limited information contained in your question. There are several variables that could affect whether my suggestions are the wisest. I do recommend conferring with Families First in any event.

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