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Is there a legal time limit on child support claims?

The involvement of children may be one of the more stressful and difficult aspects of a divorce. While the best interest of the children should be at the forefront of each parent's mind, there are occasions when it can seem as though this is far from being the case. It is quite common to seek child support as part of divorce; however, many California residents may not be aware that there is no statute of limitation on pursuing such claims in this state.

A man is considering his options for pursuing his father for outstanding child support repayments almost 60 years after his parents divorced. For a number of years following the divorce, his mother pursued his father, who had moved to another state, for child support payments with minimal success. The mother kept a close record of the payments she received in addition to the original divorce paperwork, all of which is now in the son's possession. She finally gave up the fruitless pursuit when her son reached adulthood, and he has been estranged from his father for many years.

The son now has adult children of his own, and his father has remarried. He began to consider whether it would be viable to pursue the outstanding child support payments in order to have some money to pass to his own children. Originally, he thought of making the claim from his father's estate in the event of his death; however, if a statute of limitation was not in existence at the time when the man was a child, there may not be a requirement for him to wait until his father dies before attempting to reopen the claim.

There are a number of options available to California residents who experience difficulty in getting a former spouse to maintain child support payments. In the most extreme cases, tax refunds and Social Security checks can be intercepted. Having accurate records of agreements and payments received will assist one's case greatly, but any award may also be dependent on whether there were valid circumstances at the time for the lack of payments. Getting the advice appropriate to one's situation will help in reaching a fair outcome.

Source: marketwatch.com, "This deadbeat dad's debt goes back to 1956 - his son says it's payback time", Quentin Fottrell, Oct. 11, 2016

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