We’ve all heard the excuses why someone hasn’t paid child support, and we’ve also all heard the excuses why the party owed child support hasn’t gone to court to enforce the judgment. Whether it’s because ‘there’s no money to get’ or ‘they’re not working now, I’ll get payments later’, there are consequences to not seeking payment. While the court may not care why someone hasn’t tried to collect unpaid child support, they do care how far back the outstanding payments date.
In Missouri, most civil judgments are presumed to have been paid and satisfied ten years after the date the judgment was entered. But, judgments awarding child support and maintenance are treated quite differently. Instead of looking at the judgment as a whole, the law treats each periodic payment that as a new judgment. Each individual payment is presumed paid and satisfied ten years after payment is due, but this does not mean that the entire judgment is satisfied. Thus, a party seeking a past due child support or maintenance payment from September of 2003 is barred from their claim as of September 2013, that the same party has a claim for past due support from the current month ten years ago.
It is also important to understand that when a child is emancipated, the parent receiving child support may still seek payment for past due support. It is only the 10 year bar that can bar a parent from having to pay past due child support more than 10 years’ back.
Making a determination as to the amount of money you are due can be extremely complicated, particularly where payments have been inconsistent or sporadic. An experienced attorney can explain the law and what you are due, as well as try to secure a judgment to ensure you are not barred from receiving past due payments.