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Mom, age 73, wins Child Support for 53-year-old Daughter.

Child Support

Mom and daughter seemingly enjoying their collected child support in a MSN news article

A recent news article claimed that “[m]other, 73, wins child support for her 52-year-old daughter after her ‘deadbeat ex’ who fled to Canada when their child was just three years old finally returns to the US”.  The article shows happy mom with daughter lounging on their boat; seemingly living the good life.   Is this fake news?  Probably not; this could happen; even in Michigan, under certain circumstances.  But there is more to this story than the headline suggests.

For starters, the article’s attention-grabbing headline is misleading, and there is more to that story.  When the child was three years old, the judge ordered a child support for $160.00 per month.  Dad left for California and when he returned decades later, mom collected on the decades old child support order.

Thus, in reality, mom did not “win” child support for her 52-year-old daughter, and instead, child support was “won” or ordered decades earlier.  Mom merely collected her judgment when she was 73 years old.

Reviewing this case considering Michigan law, could this happen here in Michigan?  Under certain circumstances, the answer is “yes”.

In Michigan, each child support payment is considered a judgment on and after the date the payment is due.  This means that when the Court orders child support and a parent fails to pay it, an automatic judgment is entered against the non-paying parent. 

In Michigan, money judgments must be collected within a certain time period.  An action to collect child support must be brought within 10 years from the date that the last support payment was due, regardless if the payment is made.  This means that if the last support payment was due when the child graduated from high school, then the receiving parent or the Friend of the Court must try to collect on the child support arrearage within ten years from that last payment due date.

Additionally, if the paying parent made a payment towards the child support arrearage, then that waives or extends the statute of limitations defense.

Thus, back to the news story, could this happen in Michigan?  No; not entirely like that story.  The mom in that story did not file an action to collect the support for 30 years nor did dad make any payments for 30 years.  In Michigan, that father would have had a statute of limitations defense.  However, in Michigan if the FOC or receiving parent pursued child support collections every ten years or dad made some payments, then the paying parent may very well owe child support when he or she is in their seventies.

If you have child support questions, call the experienced child support attorneys at Kraayeveld Law at (616) 285-0808 to have that conversation how to start child support, change a child support order, or seek help with child support collections.