There is no statute of limitations for collecting back child support in California. Custodial parents who have struggled to raise their children without the financial support from their ex may be able to collect money for past expenses—even if the child is grown and gone. There are other states without any time limitations as well, as a woman in Illinois learned from watching daytime television.
The woman was watching a popular reality courtroom show, with a case about a mother who was receiving back child support for her now 38-year-old son. Until that moment, the woman did not know that was an option. She then employed the help of a company that specializes in collecting delinquent child support payments. The service doesn’t come cheap, however; the company keeps 30 percent of all payments that are collected. The woman and her husband split up when her daughter was just 13 months old. He was ordered to pay $45 for child support each week, stopped paying it shortly after finalizing the divorce. The woman was forced to work two jobs to support their child, who is now 33. The collection agency was able to track the man down in New York using his social security number and his wages are now being garnished for delinquent child support in this case, as well as for two other children that he fathered with another woman.
While a collection agency worked in this woman’s case, it should typically be a last resort. Consulting with an attorney and pursuing the matter in court should be the first step. There may be other, less expensive ways to collect delinquent payments—no matter how long past due they are.