Can I still collect child support arrears after the child turns eighteen?

You can still collect child support arrears after the child turns eighteen only if there are back child support payments still overdue. Otherwise, once the child is legally considered an adult, the non-custodial parent will not owe any new child support payments, and you will not be able to collect child support on a child that turns eighteen. However, any outstanding fees are still collectible provided the parent files a court order. For more legal help with child support payments, use the free tool below.

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5mHr-2MGSkg

Once a child is considered a legal adult, the non-custodial parent is no longer required to pay child support payments. However, should there be back child support payments that remain unpaid, the custodial parent still generally has the right to collect on these back payments, even after the child has been emancipated.

The Rules for Back Child Support

It is important to note, first of all, that rules on child support vary greatly by state. For example, in some states, the child is considered an adult at age 18 while other states say 19 or 21; some say the child becomes an adult after finishing high school, regardless of age. It is the responsibility of the non-custodial parent to know the requirements of his state.

Regardless of state differences on the age of majority, once the child is officially considered an adult, the custodial parent will not be owed any new child support payments. However, any outstanding payments are still collectable provided the parent files a court order. While the debtor may not currently have the money for the payments, filing a court order means that any money earned in the future can still be collected and paid to the other parent for back child support.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Statute of Limitations for Back Child Support

Some states have a statute of limitations on how long after the child becomes an adult for a court order to still be enforced. As such, if a custodial parent hopes to collect back child support, she should not wait too long or the claim could be time-barred and no money can be collected.

Getting Help

Because the rules for collecting back child support after a child is an adult can vary by state, you should check with a lawyer in your area for more details. If you are eligible to collect back child support, your lawyer can also assist you in filing the proper legal documents and taking the steps necessary to get the money you are owed.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption