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Child support payments still possible - even when child is grown

Washington parents who think they're off the hook for child support once their children turn 18-years-old may want to think again. Those parents with owed child support may still be liable for the debt many years later. The laws vary from state to state, but for those in Washington State, the statute of limitations is 10 years after the youngest child becomes emancipated, or turns 18-years-old. This means that some parents could be making child support payments on children up to age 28 - and there's an outside agency that can help parents collect support from parents who are trying to avoid it.

The courts can only do so much to force parents to pay child support. They are limited in that they can only find people who pay taxes and report their income. That's where Support Collectors, Inc., comes in.

The company helps custodial parents find the whereabouts of parents who are trying to dodge payments. They use other methods to find parents who are not paying taxes or who are self-employed and not reporting their income. In return, the company receives 30 percent of what the parent pays. This may seem like a huge chunk to a custodial parent, but 70 percent is oftentimes much better than what they would have received from the courts - absolutely nothing.

Paying child support many years later can be a financial struggle for many parents, especially those nearing retirement or have since remarried and have other children to care for. After making a monthly payment for child support, many parents have very little income left. In addition, some states have no statute of limitations on child support, meaning that they could potentially be tracked down and forced to make payments when they are in their 70s, 80s and beyond. For those parents, there are ways to modify a child support order or even end it altogether.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Parents use outside agency to collect child support," Lisa Black, Oct. 24, 2013

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