Ask the experts… can an emancipated child recover unpaid child support on mom’s behalf?

Ask the experts… can an emancipated child recover unpaid child support on mom’s behalf?



First things first: I am 26 years old. I lived in Montanta from the time I was born until the year 2008 when I turned 18 and moved to New Mexico, where I still live. My dad left when I was 2 and my mom had full custody of me from then until I moved out. My dad still lived in Mississippi up until I think about year 2006 or 2007, when he moved to Iowa.

From what I understand, there was a court order for my dad to pay my mom $300 per month child support plus $200 per month spousal support. I’m not interested in the spousal support. But I know that most of the time I was growing up he did not pay any child support, though he did start making sporadic payments of about $150-$200 or so every month or two when I was in my late teens.

I am not sure how much back child support is owed, and I do not have any records myself. I’d have to obtain these from either my mom or maybe the correct court in Mississippi.

My question is (1) whether or not I can be the one to initiate an attempt to collect, instead of my mom–because she never gets anything done. She’s also afraid of him because he has a history of violence. (2) IF I can be the one to pursue this, what would I need to do in regards to me being in Alaska, my mom being in Mississippi, and my dad being in Iowa? The court order is from Mississippi so I’d assume that even if I were hiring a private attorney, the attorney would need to be a member of the Mississippi Bar. But I’m not sure if this is a correct assumption or how this works.

I’d be grateful for any advice you can provide.



Our answer:

Hi Andrea,

Thank you for the email and questions

You as the child in the order cannot collect child support is to be paid to the custodial parent. If you and your Mom would like to consider the possibility of collection, we would need to have Mom sign the agreement and be completely on board but could work with you as the primary contact. If funds are collected, they would be sent to Mom and she can determine what to do with them.

If Mom received any financial assistance from the state, we would need to determine if there are funds that need to be repaid to the state. If funds are owed to the state, I’m afraid we would not be able to collect. If all arrears are due to Mom, we would need a judge signed copy of all court orders and a copy of the payment history so we can tie to what is owed in unpaid support. You did indicate that payments did occur sporadically over the life of the order. We would also need so basic information on your father to get started: date of birth and social are needed to open the file.

I’d be happy to chat with you and your Mom to determine if your case is something we can assist with.