We often deal with and write about issues relating to child support. One parent’s refusal to make child or spousal support payments can have a devastating effect on both the child or children and the other parent. In a recent story coming out of California, one mother made headlines after a judge awarded her child support the father failed to pay dating back 50 years.

A brief marriage

The couple were married in 1966, and split up two years later. By the time their divorce was finalized in 1970, their daughter was three-years-old. The judge ordered the father to make monthly child support payments of $210 for the first 2.5 years, and to make payments of $160 per month afterwards until the child reached the age of 18. The order was finalized on January 1, 1971.

A failure to pay

Despite the divorce order, the father failed to make a single child support payment. The mother told CNN, “The first check bounced and then he went off to Canada with his girlfriend and had to more kids. He completely disappeared.”

For the next 50 years the mother lived “paycheck to paycheck” as she raised her daughter alone. The daughter told CNN, “In the long run it affects you, you have a lot of abandonment issues.” She added “Not having a mother around because she was so busy working, you can’t put a price on a lost childhood. There’s no amount of money that can replace it.”

Over the years, the father had skipped out on $30,000 in child support.

No statute of limitations

It was in 2018 that the mother realized California has no statute of limitations for child support payments. After googling the name of the gather, she found photos of him living in Oregon, where he appeared to be doing well, living in a large house with a boat.

She soon filed a motion asking for the judge to make an order for unpaid child support. The judge granted her request. According to CNN, the father’s lawyer reached out to the mother and they made an agreement for the father to pay the mother $30,000 in missed child support as well as $120,000 in interest. He told CNN, “”I was glad to pay (the mother) the child support that was owed and I wish her only the best in the future.”

Mother hopes others come forward

The mother told CNN that she hopes her story can serve as an example to other parents who might be afraid to pursue support that was not paid. She said some parents have approached her to share their stories of unpaid child support. She said she has seen a ripple effect since her story broke, but she is now “hoping to see waves.”

At Jason P. Howie, Professional Corporation, our clients often come to us with questions related to child support, such as who has to pay it, and for how long? In Ontario child support is determined based on a formula. Additional expenses not covered by the formula, such as education and medical expenses, must be factored in separately. Each situation is unique, though, and having an experienced lawyer by your side will help you understand your rights and receive what you are owed. Please contact us online or by phone at 519.973.1500 to speak with us today about issues around child support or other areas of family law.