My father still owed my mother tens of thousands in child support when my mother died last year.
Since she passed away she never got to collect the entire amount owed her.
Even though I am an adult with my own family, do I have a right to those payments owed or does he get off the hook because my mother is now deceased?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Texas child support laws where I am licensed to practice.
Your father’s child support obligation most likely did not terminate by the death of your mother. On the death of the obligee (your mother), the current child support owed by the obligor (your father) for the benefit of the child may be paid to the surviving child, if the child is an adult, which is the case in this situation.
In order to obtain an order directing the payment of child support paid but not disbursed to you, then you must present your mother’s death certificate to the court. The court will then issue an order directing payment.
A copy of the court order should then be provided to the obligor (your father), the county clerk, the local registry or disbursement unit and any adult child named in the support order.
On receipt of this order, the local registry, the state disbursement unit or the Title IV-D agency shall disburse payments as required by the order. This is assuming payments have been paid but not yet disbursed due to your mother’s death.
In the event, the payments have not been paid and are in arrears, you may have a remedy for the delinquent child support due. This would require obtaining a judgment for the arrearage.
A judgment is enforceable by any means available for enforcement of a judgment for debts. If a judgment is ordered, the judge may order your father to make periodic payments and issue a withholding order.
Interest may be accrued on the amount of the arrearage at the standard rate of 6% from the date the order is rendered until the judgment is paid.
The second alternative is to obtain a cumulative money judgment for the past due support.
In Texas, to be eligible for this remedy the court must confirm the amount of the child support arrearage and order a cumulative judgment. The caveat is the money judgment must be filed not later than the 10th anniversary after the child named in the order becomes an adult or by the date by which the order terminates by law.
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Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Robin W. Klein, an associate attorney in the Houston, Texas, office, contact Cordell & Cordell.