Can I Get Child Support from My Father: There is One Easy Way

“Can I get child support payments from my father?” Joshi, my neighbour and college-going boy, asked me. “My mother worked so hard to raise me after their separation. She was a single parent performing the duties of both parents combined. According to the court order, my father was supposed to pay $500 every month for my upbringing and education until graduation. But he didn’t follow through with that. So now I want to know if I can get child support from him.”

Well, there is the general rule the non-custodial parents pay that child support to the custodial parents. And this payment will be paid for a certain period. In most cases, until the child gains the majority or completes the study. Parents can’t refuse this. And if the period is over and the condition is fulfilled, then the support can be stopped.

But what if it is about paying the child support arrears? Can you get that money? This article will tell you everything you need to know.

Can I get child support from my father: No, in general rule

“Can a child receive their own child support?”

No, you can’t claim child support from your father as a child. Your mother can do that on your behalf if she is legally married to him or in a relationship with him. She may even be able to get backdated payments if it has been more than 6 months since you have started living away from the father’s home. 

As mentioned previously, child support is paid to the custodial parent only. So, your mother can get child support from your father during a set period of time, which is typical until you turn 18 or graduate from college. After this point, child support will be stopped.

Also, in many states, if your parents are both custodial for you, then neither can seek child support from the other. The same rule applies if one parent is absent or can’t be found.

Moreover, if a court order was issued stating that your father shouldn’t pay child support for any reason, like he lost his job or his income is lower than your mother’s, he can’t be held accountable for the payments. He may have been exonerated from paying child support in the past due to financial difficulties.

If you’re thinking, “My dad never paid child support,” you might wonder if it’s possible to file a petition for unpaid child support or back pay. Unfortunately, in most cases, this isn’t an option. Generally speaking, children do not have the right to file a claim for unpaid child support arrears–this is something only the parent can do through filing a petition. So your mother can. However, there is an exception also that will be discussed later on.

can i get child support from my father

Can I Get Child Support from My Father: Yes, If You Follow This Rule

“Can I sue my father for never paying child support?”

As I said, there is one exception where you, as a child, can file a lawsuit for child support in arrears against your father, and that is if you are an adult and the executor or representative of your mother’s (custodial parent) estate. It means if your mother is not alive and you are the executor of the estate, then you can file a lawsuit for child support in arrears.

Moreover, if your mother can’t take any legal action due to her health or age, then you can do it on her behalf and be awarded back payments. Remember, child support in arrears can be characterized as either assigned or unassigned. Both are discussed below.

What is assigned child support in arrears?

Assigned child support in arrears means the unpaid payments must be paid to the state. In turn, the state will have been reimbursed for any time they had to step in and make child support payments on behalf of the absent parent. The explanation for this stems from the fact that a child needs these payments to cover their daily expenses.

These situations usually arise when the parent who has custody is getting public assistance because the other parent isn’t paying support. So, if there’s any money left over after the state gets paid back, that’s probably when the custodial parent would get payments for what they’re owed.

What is unassigned child support in arrears?

Unassigned child support in arrears is the term used for when the non-custodial parent does not make a payment that was agreed to in court and now must pay back the custodial parent for any expenses they had to cover. The custodial parent can sue if a child support agreement is set before eighteen.

The adult child of the custodial parent can sue for back child support, although it’s worth mentioning that other age restrictions may exist depending on the state. Also, unassigned child support arrears go to the custodial parent only if they’ve never been recipients of state or federal public assistance.

How to file for and collect child support: Step-by-step

Here is a step by step instructions on how to collect child support in arrears:

  • Find out whether the non-custodial parent can be held accountable for child support arrears.
  • Contact your local Child Support Enforcement Agency and let them know you are seeking child support payments.
  • If they can, set up an appointment with a lawyer to discuss your legal rights.
  • Have all relevant documents ready, including proof of income, court orders, and other paperwork related to the case.
  • File a petition with the local court, asking for back payments and other money owed by the non-custodial parent.
  • Attend any required hearings and present your argument before the judge or mediator.
  • If you win, collect the payment from the non-custodial parent or from the court.
  • The court may order the non-custodial parent to pay the arrears and any other payments due.
  • Start collecting by requesting wage garnishment or bank account levy from the non-custodial parent’s employer or their financial institution.
  • Monitor and enforce payment of court-ordered child support until the arrears are paid off.
  • Keep track of all payments made, and follow up with the court if any payments are late.
  • Consider filing a contempt of court charge against the non-custodial parent if they fail to pay according to the terms set by the court.
  • Make sure all money owed is collected before closing the case.

If you are still not convinced, watch the below video about why my child’s father is not paying child support:

FAQs on Can I Get Child Support from My Father

Can a father get child support from the mother?

It is often assumed that the father pays child support to her child’s mother. But, yes, a father can petition for child support in court. The mother may be ordered to pay money to the father to help cover costs associated with taking care of the child. 

The exact amount and type of support will vary based on each family’s circumstances, including each parent’s income levels and financial resources. Factors such as parental visits with the child, medical expenses, and other costs associated with caring for a child may also be considered when determining the amount of support to be paid.

Generally, the parent who gets the non-custodial rights or who does not have custody of the child will be ordered to pay child support. However, this is only sometimes the case, and it’s possible for a custodial parent to receive support. A father can petition for child support in court and provide evidence supporting his claim that he should receive financial compensation from the mother to help cover childcare expenses. 

Note that a court order is required for the mother to be legally obligated to pay child support. If both parties agree on an informal arrangement, this may not hold up in court and cannot be enforced unless the agreement is broken.

How does back child support work?

Back child support is a legal obligation for parents to support their children financially. It can be established through court orders, voluntary agreements between the parents, or even through government intervention. 

The amount of money owed in back child support is determined by the financial resources available to both parents and any additional costs that may need to be covered to ensure the child’s wellbeing. Once this is established, a court order or agreement will be established outlining how much money is owed and when it needs to be paid.

It is then up to the custodial parent (the one with primary physical custody of the child) to monitor payment and make sure that any missed payments are made up. If the non-custodial parent fails to pay their child support, they can face serious consequences such as wage garnishment, license suspension, and even jail time.

It is important for both parents to understand and abide by the back child support agreement to make sure that their children are provided for. It is also important to remember that back child support payments are not tax-deductible, so it is crucial for the non-custodial parent to keep accurate financial records to avoid any penalties. 

Can I sue my father for abandonment?

Yes, sometimes it is possible to sue a parent for abandonment. However, the laws vary from state to state, and you should contact an attorney to discuss your situation before taking any legal action. 

However, most states recognize that parents have a duty of care and financial responsibility towards their children. A claim may be considered if the parent has not fulfilled these duties. For example, if the parent abandoned their child without providing food, clothing, shelter or medical care, they could be liable for this neglect.

In some cases, a judge may also consider other factors, such as whether the abandonment was intentional or malicious. If you believe your father has abandoned you and you are considering legal action, it is best to consult a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the process.

How far back can child support be claimed?

Child support arrears can only be paid back up to a maximum of three years before the date the arrears are claimed. However, the Supreme Court may further delay this if the payer engaged in faultworthy behaviour, such as failing to disclose all of their income.

Also, the court can order a custodial parent to reimburse the arrears in cases where they received them too early or without filing the necessary forms.

Additionally, interest can accumulate on child support payments that were not paid according to the schedule and can accrue until it is all paid off. Anyone facing this situation can seek advice from a lawyer specializing in family law to help them understand the situation and create a repayment plan.

Does back child support go to the child or parent?

Child support payments are often made directly to the custodial parent. The custodial parent typically has physical custody of the child and spends more time with the child than the non-custodial parent

When a court orders a non-custodial parent to pay back child support, the payments are usually made directly to the custodial parent. The custodial parent is then responsible for using the child support funds to cover their child’s expenses. 

In some cases, states may set up a system where back child support payments can be made directly to the child or placed into an account only the child can access. This is usually only done in extenuating circumstances, and speaking with an attorney is important to better understand your state’s laws.

Final Thought:

Child support can be tricky but understand the legal process involved. If you prove entitlement to back payments, you can get child support from your father.

Two types of arrears can be collected; assigned and unassigned payments. Assigned payments go to the state, while unassigned payments can go to the custodial parent. It can be difficult to enforce these payments, but with the right steps, you can ensure your child can get the financial support they need.

About Shakir Ahmed

Head of the editorial team. I hold a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from UoL. Written hundreds of articles on divorce, child custody, employment and other human rights law topics for blogs and websites worldwide. Worked 6 years as a relationship development trainer. For any communication regarding any legal matter, please feel free to email me at

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