What Is the Statute of Limitations on Child Support?
One of the most overwhelming and complex experiences any parent can experience is negotiating child support. Calculating child support is a complex process that involves the court system.
While the judge may issue an order for child support payments, there's no guarantee that the supporting parent will oblige. To enforce the order, you may have to get back to the system to follow up, which is a daunting task.
To help you maneuver the system and know how to handle child support issues, it's important to understand the child support statute of limitations. DoNotPay can help you understand child support laws in your state and help you seek payments faster in a more convenient way than trying to figure it out on your own.
Child Support Laws in the United States
In the US, both parents have the legal responsibility of financially and medically supporting their child(ren) whether they live with them or not. Laws dealing with child maintenance are enacted at the state level.
These laws deal with the non-custodial parent's obligation to financially support their child(ren) and they determine how child support is enforced, collected, and modified. Child support laws fall under two jurisdictions; state and federal.
1. State Laws on Child Support
The state or local authorities in the US deal with child support matters. Every state has its own civil or criminal means of collecting child support. State agencies referred to as "Title IV-D'' enforce child support laws to any parent who requests help. However, one must first seek a child support order from the court for these agencies to collect child support.
2. Federal Laws on Child Support
Only under limited conditions does the federal government deal with child support issues. Federal child support laws became possible with the Child Support Recovery Act (CSRA) 1992 and Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act (DPPA) 1998.
According to federal law, it is illegal for a parent to willfully fail to pay child maintenance payment as ordered by a court in certain circumstances. If convicted, offenders may face fines and imprisonment.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Child Support?
Yes, there is a statute of limitations on child support, but the statute of limitations laws vary based on each state. For instance, while some states treat unpaid child support debt like any other debt, others provide a specific set of requirements on how child support arrearages should be collected.
Each state will determine how long a statute applies depending on when each child support payment was due, while other states will look at when the last child maintenance payment was made.
For example, Alabama has a 20-year statute of limitations on child support payments enforcement which begins immediately when a judgment is entered. A custodial parent can collect child support arrears for 5 years in Arkansas once the child reaches 18 years.
There's no statute of limitations on how long a parent can ask for enforcement of a child support order in other states. For example, until all the child support back payments have been paid in California, child maintenance costs will remain outstanding and payable.
How Is Child Support Calculated in the US?
Each state has its own statutes which provide specific guidelines on how child support should be calculated. A published worksheet allows every party involved to enter information related to their income and expenses to reach a presumptive amount paid to the custodial parent monthly.
Some states will require both parties to submit income information, while others will require only the non-custodial parent's income information.
If both parties can agree on a presumptive amount, a stipulated order will be submitted to the court to that effect. On the other hand, if the parties disagree, a hearing before a judge will be set to decide on the matter. Depending on the state, child support payments can be made to the court or the specific agency mandated to enforce child support laws.
What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Child Support?
If a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, the child support enforcement services will have to use some enforcement tools to make sure the child maintenance payments are made. The enforcement tools include:
- Withholding income
- Tax refunds denial
- Passport revocation
- Suspensions/revocation and denial of driving privileges and other professional licenses
- Fine or jail
- Held in contempt of court
- Placement of lien on the non-custodial parent's property
How Can DoNotPay Help With Child Support Issues?
DoNotPay can help you demand child support payments from a non-cooperative co-parent or lower child support payments if you have financial constraints.
Demand Child Support Payments With DoNotPay
If you want to file a demand letter for late child support payments but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in three easy steps:
- Search child support on DoNotPay and enter the details of the person who owes the payments.
- Tell us more about the payment schedule, including the amount and frequency of the payments, the last payment they made and number of missed payments, and how much they owe you in total.
- Confirm your contact information and select whether you want us to mail or email the letter on your behalf. Choose how you would like to receive the payment and verify your signature.
Lower Child Support Payments With DoNotPay
Financial constraints may hinder your ability to make timely payments, leading to delinquency. Having child support arrearage may cause further financial issues given that late or missing payments accrue interest.
DoNotPay can help you plead your case to reduce your child support payments to an amount that's more manageable in the following steps:
- Search child support on DoNotPay and select the state your child support agreement was established in.
- Answer a series of questions about your current financial situation and your past payments to help guide the application.
- Confirm your current contact information, and enter the location of the county court that established your child support agreement, so we can mail your request on your behalf!
Child Support Guides by State
Learn more about your state child support laws and guides through the DoNotPay child support guides below.
What Else Can DoNotPay Help You With?
DoNotPay works with all government agencies, private companies, and service providers to ensure that all users have quick access to information and reliable services. Other services you can access with DoNotPay include:
- Appeal parking tickets
- Seek compensation for robocalls
- Sue in small claims court
- Get a refund from any canceled or delayed flights
- Pay bills online
DoNotPay takes away the hassle from carrying out regular procedures, complex or otherwise, by providing you with convenient services at your disposal. Sign up today to get started.