How to Collect Back Child Support As an Adult

How to Collect Back Child Support As an Adult
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Child support is a court-ordered monthly financial payment a noncustodial parent pays to a custodial parent. Child support is intended to help provide the child with basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. Noncustodial parents are required to pay child support until the child reaches the age of majority, which in most states is 18 or 19. If a noncustodial parent fails to pay child support, the child can perhaps sue that parent to collect the outstanding amount upon becoming an adult.

Contact child protection services in your state and find out if you are eligible to collect past due support.

Obtain information on how to collect back due child support. In most states, you have to fill out an application that allows child support services to begin collection proceedings. Often, the child services agency will obtain a judgment from the court to garnish a portion of the noncustodial parent's wages and tax returns until the outstanding amount is paid in full.

Have the custodial parent begin collection proceedings on past due child support, if you are unable to bring the claim yourself. If the custodial parent is deceased, you may be able to bring collection proceedings on behalf of the deceased's estate.


  • In the majority of states, only the custodial parent can bring a lawsuit to collect past due child support from the noncustodial parent.