When it comes to past due child support, many parents automatically assume that they forfeit their chance to collect any payments once their child reaches the age of 18. However, as demonstrated by the experience of one Midwest mom, this is not always the case.
The mother, 53, is currently collecting child support for her now 33-year-old child, something made possible by the fact that her native state of Illinois has no statute of limitations on the collection of child support.
How exactly was she able to do this?
The story starts back in the early 1980s, when the mother gave birth to her daughter and her now ex-husband decided to leave a year after her birth. As part of the eventual divorce agreement, the husband was ordered by the court to pay $45 a week in child support.
However, he stopped making payments shortly thereafter and the couple later came to the informal agreement that the mother wouldn't return to court to seek back child support if the father would forfeit all custody/visitation rights.
As the years went by, the mother worked two jobs to provide for her daughter and, while she was upset with her ex-husband, she didn't return to court to seek child support. In the meantime, she lost all contact with her former spouse.
Fast forward several years and the mother eventually had a change of heart after watching an extremely popular courtroom reality show.
"There was a case on there where the lady had a son who was 38, and she was getting back child support for him," she said. "I thought, that's weird, I didn't know you could do that."
The mother eventually retained the services of a Minnesota-based collection agency that was able to track down the husband and -- in exchange for a portion of the proceeds --helped her secure a court order garnishing her husband's wages for child support for what was initially $175 per month and next year will jump to $500 per month.
Cases like these, while perhaps something of an anomaly, nevertheless serve to underscore the importance of never giving up on the collection of child support and exploring all possible options with an experienced legal professional.
Remember, if you would like to learn more about child support here in Minnesota, you should strongly consider consulting with an experienced attorney who can outline your options and enforce your rights.
Source: The Chicago Tribune, "Parents use outside agency to collect child support," Lisa Black, Oct. 24, 2013