Some people think that once your child becomes an adult, you can no longer collect back child support payments. In most states, however, this is simply not the case, including in the state of Washington. Although Washington law does establish a timeframe in which you must collect child support arrearages or back child support payments, you can continue collecting child support arrears well beyond your child’s 18th birthday.
Washington law does have a statute of limitations for collecting back child support. This means that there is a deadline for collecting child support arrearages. Under Washington law, for child support orders and arrearage judgments entered after July 23, 1989, you have ten years from the date that the youngest child covered by the order turns 18 years of age. As a practical matter, then, you can collect past-due support payments until the youngest child on the order turns 28 years old. After the child turns 28, any judgment for child support arrears is normally unenforceable. This means that if you wait until the last minute and don’t try to collect back child support until right before the statute of limitations, you may not be able to collect all of the child support that is owed to you.
Nonetheless, Washington law does provide that a parent can extend or waive the deadline for collecting child support arrears. If a parent who owes back child support signs such a waiver, then the other parent can take steps to enforce the outstanding child support debt indefinitely.
If you are seeking to enforce court-ordered child support against your ex-spouse or ex-partner, our Washington child support attorneys can guide you through every step of the process to collect your child support arrearage. We are here to answer your questions, both now and in the future, about enforcing all types of court orders, including custody, child support, and orders related to property division. At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we have represented the interests of countless individuals throughout the court order enforcement process. Contact our office today at (509) 792-3154 or by e-mail at [email protected] and set up a time to talk about your case.