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Can I collect back child support owed on me?

Joplin, MO |

I am 31 years old and my father owes thousands of dollars in back child support. Is there a way I can find out how much he owes and can I collect the support myself?

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Attorney answers 2


Assuming that there was a child support order that your father has not ever paid, that order was for him to pay your custodian, (probably your mother). She would be the one to try to enforce the order.

This advice is based upon limited and hypothetical circumstances. For an answer that is specific to your situation, please consult an attorney. The answering of this question does not create an attorney/client relationship, and the poster should seek additional information from qualified legal counsel. Many attorneys, like ours, offer no-cost consultations.

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson


Although laws vary from state to state, it is probably reasonable to infer that all states require a prior determination or adjudiciation on the merits of the case to seek enforcement. Once an order for support is entered by the court, the custodial parent must take affirmative steps to "enforce" the order. In Virginia, which is where I practice, all support orders contain notice provisions, which make the payor parent aware that once support obligation results in a judgement by operation of law. The Division of Child Support Enforcement has the legal authority, once contacted, to seek enforcement of the judgment on behalf of the child. All states have similar agencies--usually a branch of the Attorney General's Office--whose sole function is to collect child support. I suggest that you start with this office in your local jurisdiction for further information.


Although your mother owns the claim, she could assign it to you and then you can pursue it.

This comment does not create an attorney-client relationship. The law and its application by the courts is constantly evolving and changing. This discussion is not to be taken as a definitive guide, and should not be relied upon to determine all fact situations. Each set of facts must be examined separately with the current case and statutory law analyzed and applied accordingly.

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