Each state has its own set of child support laws, so statutes of limitation vary as a result. Some states limit collections to 15 years after a child's age of emancipation, and other states set the date at 10 years after each installment became due. A few states have enforcement extended to 20 years from the date of default, and some states don't have a statute of limitations at all. During interstate disputes, states with a longer statute of limitation often take precedence.
In 1986, Congress signed the Bradley Amendment, which makes it illegal for states to retroactively change the amount of money a parent must pay for child support. The Amendment makes judgments of child support an operation of law. And, the state statute of limitations is irrelevant in disputes involving back child support. Enforcement agencies can make changes to child support payment only on or after the date the child support agency received a request.
Federal or State?
The Child Support Recovery Act was passed in 1992. CSRA, also known as Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act, gives jurisdiction to federal agencies if they meet certain conditions. Federal agencies must prove that the alleged deadbeat parents had the ability to pay and knowingly chose not to pay. The agencies must also prove that the parents knew about the past due child support obligation and left it unpaid for at least a year or the amount is more than $5,000. The claims also must be for children who live in different states than the parents.
Implementation of the Bradley Amendment and CSRA makes it possible for either the state, or private entities authorized by state agencies, to collect child support payments. Federal law requires that each state pursue and gain full payment of child support payments that are in arrears. Parents who want to reduce child support payments may only do so for future payments. They can't change payments that are already past due.
Filing for bankruptcy doesn't dissolve child support. By law, the parent must still make child support payments during the insolvency process. Failure to do so places the parent further into arrears. While the automatic stay during bankruptcy often affects other collection attempts, it doesn't affect child support collections. Collecting agencies can continue to pursue delinquent parents during this process.
Even death of the obligor doesn't stop child support collections. Collecting agencies can attempt to collect from life insurance policies and the decedent's estate. In general, child support ends only when the child reaches the age of majority. Federal law doesn't govern child support payments after the obligor dies.
Talk with a divorce attorney like Gowri V. Hampole Atty to find out about collecting child support payments.