Unpaid Child Support and the Unmarried Parent: How far back can a claim be made for it?
If you are an unmarried parent and haven’t paid child support for a while, you may wonder how far back a claim for unpaid child support can reach.
In Utah, liability is limited to the period of 4 years preceding the commencement of an action for child support (according to Utah Code §78B-15-109). What does this mean, and how does it work?
This means that no matter how long the period of time is that the child support went unpaid, liability for unpaid child support only goes back 4 years.
For example, if the father of a 16-year-old has not paid child support since the child was 10-years-old, the father would NOT be responsible to repay all missed child support payments for the past ten years. The father would be liable only for the child support which accrued in the last 4 years.
Another example: assume that you are the father of a child and until the child was 6 years old, you paid no support. Let’s assume that’s because you didn’t know you were a parent and didn’t find out until the child was 6 years old. As soon as you found out, you started paying child support every month in full and paid in full every year since then. Assume next that when the child is 12 years old the obligee parent (the one who receives the child support money) wants to sue you for the support you did not pay for the first six years of the child’s life. She can’t. Liability for unpaid support only reaches back 4 years, and you’ve been paying in full for the past 4 years. The obligee cannot go back any further.
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