By Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch
My children’s father recently pledged to pay $10,000 of $20,677 in child-support arrears.
He initially wanted the funds divided between his two sons. When I mentioned our daughter, he said divide it between our three adult children.
Our adult children are 42, 39, and 34 years old. I received a rare child-support payment from my ex when my children were young. Hence, the arrears.
If I actually receive these funds as arrears, I plan on giving about half to my children and keeping the rest. I assist my kids financially as needed and give them monetary gifts.
I would like your thoughts on this matter.
Mother from Texas
You obviously kept on the case to ensure the father of your children made recompense, and I applaud you for never giving up on that. I also take my many hats off to you for still helping out your children into adulthood.
Children only need one good parent to love and support them, and I am sure they have benefited from having you. And so to your question: Splitting the support 50/50 is generous, perhaps more than generous, even if you were not still helping out your children. This money is designed to compensate YOU. The fact that your ex does not want the money to go to you suggests that he is too big for his breeches, even after all these years. This is YOUR money. He does NOT get to tell you to give it to his sons, or not his daughter, or to his kids but not to you. Should you decide to give them half, have a conversation with each of them about how they intend to use the money.
When mandated by law, child support is designed to repay state coffers, but not everyone sees this as a solution that fully helps the custodial parent. “Children in welfare families struggling to become self-sufficient lose out as their support payments are redirected to the government. Fragile relationships between mothers, fathers and children are often broken,” according to a paper by Daniel Hatcher, a law professor at the University of Baltimore. “The fiscal benefit to the government is minimal, at best. And the social fabric is torn, as significant numbers of welfare fathers retreat from the workforce and their families.”
A word of caution for other parents in Texas, and beyond: “Under Texas law, the statute of limitations for seeking back child support when a court order is already in place is ten years from the child’s 18th birthday,” according to Simer and Tetens , a law firm in Waco, Texas. “If a claim isn’t filed by the deadline, then any recovery for back child support in Texas may be denied.” But there is also a moral principle at stake, in addition to a legal one. “If there isn’t an existing child support order in place, that does not mean that a non-custodial parent can simply avoid making payments. Child support is still owed, even without an official court order to mandate it,” the firm adds.
For other parents out there, there is no statute of limitations on child support in other states, including California. State law on the statute of limitation on child support varies dramatically. There is no statute of limitations in Florida. In New York, meanwhile, child-support arrears are limited to 20 years from the date of default. In Arkansas and New Jersey, it’s five years after the child in question reaches the age of majority. The age of majority is usually between the ages of 18 and 21, depending on the state and/or whether the child is still in high school or whether the child has a disability and is unable to be independent.
You are one of the more fortunate custodial parents to have received back child support. You clearly made many sacrifices in your life to raise three children. YOU deserve every last red cent. In the meantime, I wish you and your family the best of everything in the years ahead.
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