California laws contain several remedies for women whose ex-husbands do not pay child or spousal support. The state has an agency that helps locate ex-spouses and assists in seeking court enforcement of an existing order for child or spousal support. Unfortunately for women of an earlier generation, these remedies did not exist, and many women were forced to get along without the support payments that had been ordered by the court. One California woman who found herself in that situation was able to find her former husband and persuade him to pay what he owed her. She was successful in recovering child support payments from her ex-husband 50 years after they had been divorced.
The woman and her husband were divorced in the 1970s, and he was ordered to pay child support for their 3-year-old daughter. The woman took the first support check in the amount of $160 to the bank, and it bounced. The husband then failed to make the next support payment. Weeks became months, months became years, and the woman lived and raised her daughter without receiving a single dime of support. The woman told a reporter that she struggled a lot and was forced to work two jobs at once to earn enough to support her and the child. Then she had a life-changing insight: California law does not have a statute of limitation for support payments.
She contacted her former husband and told him that she planned to pursue legal action against him to recover the missing support payments, including interest. She had calculated that the total amount due, including interest, was $170,000. The ex-husband offered a cash settlement, and the woman accepted $153,090 as payment for child support, interest at 10 percent and legal fees.
This case has been amicably resolved, but the ex-wife hopes that her action will provide inspiration for other women whose ex-husbands do not make the court-ordered support payments. The assistance of an experienced divorce attorney may be useful for anyone who wants to pursue a similar claim.