Can I Sue My Dad for Not Paying Child Support: No but Ways

“Can I sue my dad for not paying child support?” Jason, my neighbour, said, “After my parent’s divorce, my mother raised me as a single mother. And my father shifted to another city. He didn’t pay my child support as he was supposed to. I can’t recall the last time he sent us any money.”

If you can relate to Jason’s position, then I can understand how much pain you had. And it can be a very frustrating experience when you can’t get the support you deserve. Well, you can’t sue your dad for not paying child support because your mom is supposed to get it. So, it’s up to her to take legal action against your dad.

Wait, I am not done yet. There is an exception through which you may file a lawsuit against your dad. To know that procedure, read the article thoroughly.

can i sue my dad for not paying child support

Can I sue my dad for not paying child support: Generally, you can’t

Am I able to sue my father for back child support that he never paid?

Generally speaking, you can’t sue your dad for not paying child support because it’s not your right to get it. The child support payment is intended for the custodial parent to help with expenses related to childcare.

Then can a mother sue the father for child support?

Yes, your mother is the one who has the legal right to pursue action against your father in regard to unpaid child support. This means that your mother can file a lawsuit in court that seeks unpaid amounts, or she may be able to seek help from a state agency or lawyer to collect those funds.

Additionally, if your father fails to pay his court-ordered child support, he may be held in contempt of court and subjected to wage garnishment or other collection methods. And it is so hard to beat the case of contempt of court for not paying child support.

Furthermore, if the back child support payments are not paid, your father could face criminal charges and civil penalties, including fines and jail time.

It is also worth mentioning that even if criminal charges are not pursued, an enforcement agency may still place liens on property or garnish wages in order to ensure that delinquent payments are made.

Additionally, if a parent has gone several years without making any payments, then interest might also accumulate based on the balance due. 

As an exception, if you are an adult, there is a way out to file a lawsuit for child custody, which is discussed next.

Can I sue my dad for not paying child support: Yes, if you follow this rule.

A child can only file a lawsuit against their father for child support in arrears if they are an adult and the executor of their mother’s estate. If your mother is deceased and you are the executor of her estate, you can file a lawsuit to recoup any unpaid child support.

Here, the principle is that if your mother had the right to sue someone now that she has passed away, you, as her representative, can sue on her behalf.

If your mother cannot take any legal action due to the severity of her health or age, you can do it on her behalf and be awarded back payments. Keep in mind that child support in arrears can be either assigned or unassigned. I will go over both types below.

What is assigned child support in arrears?

Assigned child support in arrears means that your mother can assign her rights to the child support payments to a governmental entity or state. This can be done by filing an assignment of rights form with the appropriate agency. This can be done regardless of whether your mother is deceased or alive.

What is unassigned child support in arrears?

Unassigned child support in arrears means that the rights to the unpaid amounts can’t be assigned and can only be pursued by your mother directly. Here, your mother can only file when your father was court-ordered to pay the money to your mother.

If the child support agreement is set before the child reaches eighteen years old, then the custodial parent can sue. If she can’t pursue it, then you can do it on her behalf as her representative.

If you are still not convinced, watch the below video about you can sue your father for not paying child support:

FAQs on Can I Sue My Dad for Not Paying Child Support

Can I sue my father for abandonment?

This is a complex legal question that depends on the facts of your particular case. Generally speaking, you may be able to sue for abandonment if there has been neglect or mistreatment and financial harm due to your father’s actions. It amounts to child endangerment, and the father may lose child custody for this.

Depending on where you live, the laws regarding suing a parent may vary, so it is best to consult an experienced attorney in your area to discuss the merits of a potential legal claim. Additionally, if you seek monetary damages from your father, he must have the financial means to pay any award before a court approves such action. 

Finally, even if you can legally sue your father for abandonment, it may not be wise to do so as it could result in a strained relationship with your father. Before taking any legal action, you should evaluate the potential consequences and discuss them with an attorney or trusted advisor.

Can you sue for back child support after 18?

As a child, you are not allowed to sue for back child support after 18. However, depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances, a parent or guardian may be able to bring an action on behalf of the minor to recover any unpaid support.

In many cases, it is possible for the court to order that past-due support be paid retroactively. This can help ensure that the minor is taken care of and protected from financial hardship. However, it is important to note that if a court determines that a parent or guardian was negligent in collecting past-due support, any such award may be reduced accordingly.

Can I sue the child support agency in Ohio?

Yes, you can sue a child support agency in Ohio if you don’t receive child support due to their wrong. The most common grounds for suing a child support agency are negligence and breach of duty. Negligence occurs when the agency makes an error that leads to underestimating or overestimating the support payment. Breach of duty often happens when the agency fails to act within prescribed legal time frames, resulting in further damage.

Remember that unless the agency has acted specifically against someone, it cannot be sued – only the state can be held liable. An experienced attorney should be consulted before filing a lawsuit against a child support agency to ensure success in court.

How far back can you sue for child support?

In all 50 states, a parent can sue for retroactive child support if the claim is filed within a certain timeframe. Generally, the time limit to file for back child support begins when the child reaches 18 years of age or sometimes when the child becomes emancipated. In other words, the statute of limitations for child support generally starts to run when the child has reached the legal age of majority. 

However, in some states, such as California and Washington, a parent can file for back child support up to three years after a child turns 18 if the court determines that at least one responsible parent had knowledge of the obligation during that time period.

In addition, some states may allow parents to file for back child support even beyond the three-year limit if there is evidence of an agreement between the two parties. If a court finds that an agreement was made between both parties regarding back child support payments, then retroactive payments can be sought from the date when the agreement was agreed upon.

Finally, each state has its own laws governing the filing period for back child support. Therefore, contacting a family law attorney in your state is important to determine the specific time limits and other applicable rules.

Do I have to pay child maintenance if I don’t see my child?

Yes. Even if your ex doesn’t let you see your child, you must still legally pay child maintenance. Child maintenance is a legal obligation, and you must make arrangements to ensure regular payments are made as agreed. If you fail to do this, there can be serious consequences, including fines and even imprisonment in some circumstances. 

It is important that you take steps to ensure payments are made on time and in full. If you are unable to meet the payments for any reason, it is essential that you contact the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) as soon as possible to discuss this. They can help you come up with an alternative arrangement. It is also important to remember that child maintenance isn’t just about money; it is also a way of providing for your child and showing that you care about them.


Hopefully, you understand that although, in general, it can be difficult to sue your father for not paying child support, you can take legal action if the right circumstances are present.

Make sure to understand what kind of child support arrears you can pursue and how to file a lawsuit, request garnishment, or bank account levy. If you still have questions about the process, contact an attorney.

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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