Because California has no statute of limitations on child support, a 74-year-old woman was awarded $153,090 in back payments after being divorced from her ex-husband for five decades. Her ex-husband, who now lives in Oregon, moved to Canada after the divorce and never paid the court-ordered support.

The payments were supposed to be $210 per month for 30 months and then $160 per month until their daughter was 21. Without these payments, the woman says she struggled as a single mother. She was forced to work long hours and spend time away from her daughter while working, and she still struggled to make ends meet.

The woman said she subsequently realized that there was no statute of limitations, so she found her old paperwork and filed for support. Through a spokesperson, her ex-husband said he welcomed the opportunity to pay her the support. He said they had had an informal agreement after the divorce, but once the motion was filed, he had a private detective locate her so he could offer to pay her.

Child support is usually paid to a custodial parent by a noncustodial parent, and it is determined by a formula that considers parents’ income and other factors. While some parents do opt for an informal agreement, the advantage of a formal agreement is that the legal system can assist a parent in collecting unpaid child support. A number of measures are available to collect support, including garnishing wages and tax refunds. In some cases, a parent’s income may change and that parent may need to start paying more or less in support. The parent can go to court and request a modification in support due to a change in circumstances.

Source: Good Morning America, “Single mom wins $153K in child support 50 years after divorce“, March 26, 2019