From the mailbag… can a mom collect child support after terminating parental rights?

From the mailbag… can a mom collect child support after terminating parental rights?


I’m writing because I have some questions about a significant amount of unpaid child support. Shortly after my daughter was born, a child support order was put in place. Her father only paid on a few occasions with many years of no support in between. A wage assignment was ordered. I never aggressively pursued trying to collect because always threatened our well being (hurting me, kidnapping her, etc). She is now 17 (almost 18). I feel like his threats are less likely to be carried out now that she is on the cusp of adulthood.

My daughter made the comment the other day how unfair it is that she doesn’t have his financial support to help pay for college. I’ve struggled on only my income for all these years and paying for college seems daunting.

He has been able to dodge his obligation for many years because he lives off money from illegal activities and thus does not receive a paycheck or file taxes.

On one occasion, I know he attempted to have his child support obligation reduced and his request was denied. I believe he may have attempted this on another occasion, but I was never served so I am not sure if he effectively made a change happen. I didn’t check it out further because I had received $0 for so many years, a reduction did not seem to matter much. His rights were terminated when she was 16, so I’m pretty sure he is not required to pay from that point on. Last I heard, he is on probation in Mississippi, however, I don’t know anything else about where he is living.

By my rough calculations, he owes approximately 14.5 years in back support. Is there a way to enforce this so that he has to pay? Can my record be pulled so see how much arrearage he owes or does he not really have to pay anything to help her out in her early adult years?

Thanks so much for answering my question…

Oregon, USA

Our Answer:

Hello Beth,

I suggest contacting the county that the order was issued from and getting all your document to include the payment history. It is wise to have a full copy of your documents since the case is now all arrears since this rights were terminated. Have the county review your case with you and see what they will do to help; since he is on probation, they do know where he is. My concern in having us work the case is that there is no income r assets to attach to Income from illegal activity is not an option for us to collect from. He would need to make a voluntary payment arrangement with us and I’m not positive that would be received well from him. Unfortunately there are cases that are very difficult to collect from given the demeanor and background of the non-custodial parent, I’m afraid you case may be one of them.

Please give us a call if would like to discuss the case further. A conversation is worth the time to make sure we have looked at all options for the case.

Thank you!