Table of Contents:
- The Statute of Limitations on Child Support in Illinois
- Statute of Limitations of Back Child Support in Florida
All child support orders end when the child turns 18 or is emancipated. Emancipated children are those who have petitioned the court and won the right to support themselves. Unless there is an abnormal circumstance surrounding the child support order (disability, school, agreement), then the parent charged with paying support can end the payments when the child reaches age 18.
Statute of Limitations on Enforcement
There is no statute of limitations on court ordered child support payments in the state of Illinois. The court order stands and is enforceable until the ordered parent complies. Failure to pay court ordered child support can have its own consequences like fines, loss of driver’s license or jail time.
Child support agreements that have yet to come through the court system do have a statute of limitations. You have two years after the age of majority to establish paternity of the child in order to seek child support.
According to Illinois State Code, child support orders enacted before July 1, 1997 have a statute of limitations of 20 years. This means that that after 20 years, the child support orders enacted before the July date are unenforceable. All orders enacted after July 1, 1997 have no statute of limitations.
In addition to the lack of a statute of limitations in enforcing child support orders, the delinquent parents can expect interest to accrue on the missed payments. An interest penalty is levied 30 days after a child support payment is missed and accrues yearly until the payment is made.
When a child becomes emancipated, she moves beyond the legal requirement for support from her parents. She’s reached the age of majority and is considered an adult. Florida’s age of majority is 18 if the child has graduated from high school. If she hasn’t, she becomes an adult on her 19th birthday or at graduation, whichever occurs first.
Most parents are obligated to pay support for their unemancipated, or minor, children through Florida’s child support services. If a parent falls behind, the court automatically orders a judgment against him for arrears. The state tacks on interest to the debt, and the judgment remains until the entire amount of back child support is paid.
When a child emancipates in Florida, support payments stop accruing, but past-due child support doesn’t go away. The state can continue indefinitely to use all means at its disposal to collect the money due to the custodial parent. If a noncustodial parent dies still owing back support, his estate becomes legally liable for the debt.
If Florida is trying to collect past due support from you, you might have a defense, but you'll likely need the help of a lawyer. You could try to prove the legal concept of equitable estoppel to the court. For example, if you had a private agreement with your ex to waive the arrears and she didn’t honor it. Or, you might be able to prove laches if she waited so long to collect that she no longer has a legal right to do so. For this defense, you must establish that collecting back child support from you at this point would be grossly unfair.