Ask a Divorce Lawyer: What is the statute of limitations on nonpayments of support?

Question: In 1991, I was ordered to pay a one-time payment of $550 to my wife as part of the divorce decree. I paid via money order and no longer have the receipt. 

Now, almost 20 years later and with our son almost 20 and in college, she is suing me for the $550 she says she never received! Not once has this been brought up since 1991. 

Is there a statute of limitations on this? Or will a judge demand I pay her $550 because I don’t have a receipt from 20 years ago?

 

Answer:

As you already know, it is very important to obtain and save receipts when making court ordered payments.  However, most people do not save receipts after 20 years have passed.  Did you withdraw the funds from a checking account to buy the money order?  If so, your bank may be able to print the statement from the month you paid.  If not, it’s a he said she said issue.  I don’t know how credible a person is who doesn’t even bring the issue of payment up in almost 20 years.  But she may have a different “version” of how the situation transpired.

I must preface that I do not practice in your jurisdiction.  Limitations on recovery are state specific.  Therefore, I cannot tell you whether or not there is a statute of limitations which applies to your situation.  In addition to statutes, some Courts rule as a matter of policy that they will not hear arguments of nonpayment once the party has waited X number of months/years.  

You should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in your jurisdiction regarding the matter immediately.  Cordell & Cordell has many attorneys licensed and located in Indiana who may be able to help.

 

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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