Custodial parents in California and elsewhere across the nation may question whether the collection of missing child support payments is possible after the child reaches the age of 18. The enforcement of child support orders is a matter that neither states nor the federal government views lightly, and in many cases, payments that were due before the child attained the age of majority may remain enforceable until the debt has been satisfied in full.
Child support is a financial obligation. When child support payments are missed, the amount owed may accumulate and remain in force regardless of the advancing age of the child. Enforcement measures that are available to officials, including the garnishment of wages and the seizure of tax returns, may be allowable after the child turns 18. In addition, noncustodial parents are not able to turn to bankruptcy in order to discharge their child support obligations in most states.
There may be some exceptions to the rule, however. Parents who are seeking to collect back child support may want to be aware that some states may dismiss the child support obligation in the event that the child has been emancipated. Some courts may modify the obligation when it is found that the child no longer requires the support of the custodial parent.
In some cases, a statute of limitations may apply, however. Accordingly, parents who want to pursue the collection of back child support may want to speak with an attorney regarding the most advantageous course of action in light of their own unique set of circumstances.