Ask A Divorce Lawyer: Since my son has not lived with my ex for the past three years and I’ve paid support, what do I do?


I’ve been paying child support for 16 years. Over the last three years I’d lost contact with my son, and whenever I called my ex would say our son didn’t want to talk with me or was not available. I finally found him on MySpace and he says he hasn’t lived with his mother, my ex, for the past three years.

I’ve been paying child support through the county in California our divorce went through, but the county won’t review the case since neither of us live in there anymore.

What are my options for a review in the state I now live in and am a resident? Can all that child support money I’ve been paying for three years be given to my son since she obviously wasn’t using it for him since he didn’t live there?




You need to consult a domestic litigation attorney licensed in your state as support guidelines vary from state to state.  Do you know whether or not the mother was forwarding the support to your son or the person who was caring for him?  At a minimum, you would want to obtain a modification of the Order to have the support go to the person who is actually supporting your child.  You and your attorney will also be able to discuss whether you have any retroactive options.

In regards to your question of which state’s laws should apply, my first question is where does your son live?  Jurisdiction tends to follow the child.  If your son lives in another state, you and your attorney need to discuss the effect of the “home state” determination under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).  Generally, the state which ordered child support will be considered the “home state” of the child and all custody proceedings will occur in your local court unless another state has the “home state” (generally requiring the child to be there for 6 months or more). 



Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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