Can my ex girlfriend try to take me to court for child support? 23 Answers as of August 24, 2011

My ex-girlfriend and I had a child together and nothing legal was ever established. I have been giving her cash to help with expenses and I have been involved with my son all his life. Lately I have cut-back the amount I have been giving her due to me making less money. She Is not happy and has threatened to take me to court for child support back to when he was born. Our son turns 18 this Oct. Can she really do this?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
Yes. She can seek support through the State administratively or via a paternity action. You will need to demonstrate what support you have paid.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
Child Support can usually only be awarded back to the retroactive date of when the Support Complaint was first filed. Once the Child turns 18 and graduates High School, it will be too late for her to initiate a case.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 8/22/2011
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
While she can try, if she never went to court over all of these years it is not likely the court will order you to pay "back child support".
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/16/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Yes and No. She can take you to court and seek establishment of paternity and child support to be set in stone. She can even ask for retroactive support. There is however, a presumption of not more than 4 years. Plus you get credit for money you have paid during any period she sues and seeks retroactive support. The one problem you will have is proving it if she decides to lie to the court and say you have paid nothing. Start keeping records, and start gathering your old records, and if you are paying in cash, stop now, start using checks or something you can trace. Back to the presumption - that is just a presumption, she can ask for retroactive to birth but she has to proved need, facts, and circumstances and since you have been paying and have been in the child's life, etc. that is a tough burden - but that does not mean she won't try. More importantly, there is the 4 years that fall inside the presumption, that can add up to a lot all by itself. Accordingly, do not take this lightly, it is a very real threat but not nearly the threat she wants it to be. Have you ever had your support calculated to see what the Court would order? You may have been getting off easy, but you may have been paying as much or even more than the court would order. Her threats, could bite her if she sues you for support, the court applies the presumptive 4 year rule, calculates your support at X only to determine you have been paying Y which is more than X. In that case, she looks stupid, pays an attorney and gets nothing for her efforts other than a court order that lowers the amount you have to pay her. This is, of course, a two way street, Y may be less than X.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
She could file in child support court for a monthly payment. However, you could counter file for visitation as well as custody if you so desire.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/15/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    By the time she gets into court, the child will reach the age of maturity. Did you ever sign an affidavit of paternity, not to be confused with the birth certificate. If not, it is going to cost her a lot of money to establish paternity, then get an order of support.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, there is no retroactive child support without a pre-existing Court Order awarding child support.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    The Law Office of Erin Farley
    The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
    In California, child support can be ordered from the date that one parent files for support. A judge can not order child support back to your son's birth. The obligation to support your child continues until the child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later. I applaud that you have been involved with your son and that you have voluntarily paid to help support him. If mom is having a tough time, and your paychecks are lower, then talk with mom and see how you both can take action to make sure you each provide for your son as best you can. Even though your son is almost an adult, you two will always be his nuclear family. Work together - it pays off in his happiness. Best of Luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    She can take you to court for child support but she cannot back date it to beyond the date at which she files. It does not sound like you have much of a problem.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
    Generally, in making an initial child support ruling, a court is only able to go back two years. You will have the opportunity to present evidence of the monies you have given her previously, but if you have only given her cash, it may be difficult to prove.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Well . . . sort of (but really, no). Three is such a thing in NV as retroactive child support, but the limit is four years prior to the time of filing the request, and there are laws governing how much support is actually payable.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    What you seem to be saying is: 1. You and your girlfriend were never married to each other. 2. That paternity for your child has never been established in any fashion. 3. That there is no court order anywhere for the support of the child. 4. That your child turns age 18 years this October. Assuming that ALL of that is true, then, it might be worthwhile to just placate the mother for the next couple of months. That is because once the child turns age 18, he is no longer a child, he is an adult. Once he is an adult, the court loses jurisdiction for enter any original child support orders. So, if you can keep the mother from filing for support before the child turns age 18, the issue may be gone forever. Now, if she files for paternity before the child turns age 18, then, under Washington law, the court can set child support retroactively for five years. So, it may be to your financial advantage to make the mother happy for the next two or so months.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Yes she can take you to court for support...for about another 65 days. And by the time she would get a hearing the issue would be moot. Technically support can continue past age 18 if the child has not graduated high school, so if he does not have a diploma yet, you might be on the hook for another 10 months. See a local attorney if you have additional questions.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Thomas Humphrey, Attorney at Law
    Thomas Humphrey, Attorney at Law | Thomas Humphrey
    Yes. If you are the father of the child, she can seek a court order requiring you to pay child support. Child support is based upon guidelines that calculate various factors including income of both parties, percentage of custody and visitation, health care needs and others.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    Your girlfriend can take you to court for child support, but it will only be effective from the date she sues for it, and will not be retroactive. Furthermore, no child support will accrue after the child turns 18 unless he is still in high school. If he is in an accredited high school and not graduated, he is eligible for support until age 19.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    If she can establish paternity, the answer is yes. And she can use a court order to make you take the paternity test if you refuse.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The simple answer to your question is definitely, "yes, she can ask a court to award child support back to the date of birth". Whether she will succeed depends on all the facts and circumstances, including consideration of what you have actually paid over the past 18 years. (Note, in Colorado child support obligations apply until the child is 19 or completes high school, whichever is later, unless the child is emancipated sooner). The fact that you are earning less now than previously may or may not control what you should be doing now because there has never been specific child support amount established. For example, if what you have been paying was less than what you should be paying, reduced income may not have any effect. In Colo child support is established according to the combined total income of both parents. You need to consult an attorney who can provide some direct assistance in computing an estimate of what a court might require you to pay now in order to decide whether what she wants and what could happen are far enough apart to argue about.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    I believe she is limited to 3 years and you can claim credit for what you did pay if you have receipts or cancelled checks or other proof.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    No, but she can go back 2 years and you would have to prove all of the monies and support that you have given her for the child during that time in order to get credit for them. You may want to consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    She can try, but it is a bit late to seek child support for when the child was 5 years old.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    It would be unusual for a court to retroactively set support, assuming you did not violate any past orders.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/12/2011
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