Howard S. Kleyman | Family Law Attorney Serving Minneapolis, St. Paul & All Minnesota

Can an adult child sue a parent for lack of child support?

The man in question had 4 children from 3 different women. The oldest "child" is now 36 years old. While child support was never court ordered, he never paid a dime on his own for any of his children. In fact, he abandoned all 4. He now lives in Minnesota, and his "children" live in NY, Texas and California.

Also, if the child in NY sues, can she represent all of her siblings or do they need to have their own cases?
OK, I should clarify. The child suing is not interested in ANY of the money. The money would, in fact, be donated to a charity for children of dead beat dads. The reason for the lawsuit is that the "Father" is a dead beat. Period.
Oh and he has money. Lots of it.

9 Responses to “Can an adult child sue a parent for lack of child support?”

  1. jenni_doll_1 says:

    No, children are not in a legal position to go after their parents for child support, particularly back support. It doesn’t matter what they want to do with money, donate it to charity, whatever, it is not their money, it was never owed to them, they can’t collect it. Child support is not owed to the child in question. The whole purpose of child support is to offset the cost of raising and providing for a child. Children do not support themselves, their custodial parent/guardian does that, and that’s the only person who can collect child support. If the kids’ mothers did not make it a point to go after the father for child support, that’s their business, the kids can’t do anything about it. It’s a debt their father had with their mothers and it’s entirely between him and the mothers of his children.

  2. Smells like New Screen Names says:


    Children can’t sue for child support. They didn’t pay the bills. If the caretaker had wanted this money, they should have asked for it, at the time, rather than waiting twenty plus years till the child support laws were changed.

  3. ∞infiniti∞ says:

    No, child support is never owed to the child. It is owed to the custodial parent.

    If child support was court ordered while the child was still a minor, the custodial parent could sue and get a judgment for the arrears after the child became and adult. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state on how long a custodial parent can sue for back child support. Some states have no statute of limitation.

    Since, this man was never ordered by any court to support his children, he is free and clear.

  4. Ranger4402 says:

    I think what you need to look at is this:

    Who supported these children?

    That person or persons are the ones who would be entitled to any monies paid. The 36 year old child was fed and clothed by someone. That someone is out the money. The child isn’t out any money regardless of how old the child is.

    Next issue, does this father have the money to pay? If he is broke without a penny to his name then suing is a waste of time.

    As sad as this is I think this adult child needs to accept his or her father doesn’t care, never has, and never will no matter what. That’s a sad reality to have. No person can make another person care about anything.

    This matter if it goes to a court is a matter between the mother of these kids and the father. If the mom has accepted how this all played out then leave her be on that. If she wants to go after this father for the back child support then that is her call and her call alone.

  5. fangtaiyang says:

    You can try. You will be unlikely to get anything for the trouble however.

  6. Mutt says:

    No. The only one that could sue is the mother. Child support is NOT for the child, but for the custodial parent to help with the expenses of raising the child. This not only includes items that go directly to the child (clothing, school supplies, etc.), but also includes items that do not go to the child, such as rent/mortgage, insurance, and even gas for the minivan for mom to go to the store.

    And, if there was no support order before, the mother would have to have a very, very good reason as to why she did not file for support before, which she really doesn’t have one after so many years.

    *EDIT* – Since there was no court ordered child support, he is not legally a "deadbeat dad." Morally, yes he is, but the courts will not rule in favor of morality. They will rule in favor of legality.

  7. imamidnightlover says:

    No he has no standing in the court. Only the person to whom the support is ordered to pay can sue for its lack of payment.

  8. Mckilpin says:

    No. The child support is not owed to the child, it is owed to the custodial parent.

    And no, they can’t sue him for child support. It’s over. If the custodial parent wanted the child support, then they should have done that when the child was still a child instead of waiting like 20 years.

    Sorry, but the 36 year old child has NO case, whatsoever.

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