Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
(770) 676-1191
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Back child support is still collectable after child turns 18

Many divorced parents in Georgia have child support obligations that have been the subject of a court order. If a parent fails to make monthly child support payments, the parent will continue to owe the amounts that are in arrears, even after the child has reached adulthood.

A parent who does not make court-ordered child support payments can face many different enforcement actions including wage garnishment, tax refund seizure and property liens. These actions related to child support debt may continue after the child support obligations are over. While most child support orders end on a child's 18th birthday, some child support obligations continue until the child turns 21.

In some states, there is a statute of limitations for collecting unpaid child support after a child support order has ended. During this time, the recipient parent may pursue repayment of the child support balance that is in arrears. If the recipient parent wants to pursue additional child support payments beyond the child's 18th birthday, the parent may need to get a new court order. The paying parent is usually not allowed to discharge child support debt in a bankruptcy filing.

There are a variety of reasons why non-custodial parents might fall behind on their child support payments. While some might do so out of spite towards their estranged spouse, others become unable to keep current because of a medical emergency or an unexpected job loss. In those situations, they should attempt to seek a modification of the order from the court that issued it. However, attorneys will tell their clients that even if such a modification is granted, it applies only to future obligations and not to any amounts that are past due.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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