Child Support Obligations Never Go Away in Massachusetts

No Time Limit

Massachusetts divorce lawyer James M. Lynch discusses how child support arrears never expire in Massachusetts.

Recently, we have been getting calls from across the World Wide Web from people with grown children who are now being sued for child support by their state departments of revenue (“DOR”) – a decade or more after the emancipation of their children – and in some instances, for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Worse yet, they claim they to have fully paid their child support obligations long ago. Whether or not these cases are defensible depends upon the individual circumstances and the statutes of limitation in each state. It is worth noting, however, that a good number of states – like Massachusetts – have no statute of limitations. In other words, the Massachusetts DOR can come after the parent obligated to pay child support at any time in the future, regardless of the date of emancipation of the child. Other states have 20 year (and shorter) statutes of limitations for the collection of child support after the date of the child’s emancipation.

If you get one of these delinquency notices out of the blue from the DOR of your state or some other state alleging that you owe the custodial parent child support for your grown children, you need to speak with a lawyer immediately because your window to take steps to defend yourself is short. The notices generally state that if the noncustodial parent does not pay the debt within thirty days or file a request for an administrative review, the DOR can use a range of remedies to collect the debt, including but not limited to bank account levies, interception of your tax refund or even suspension of your driver’s license. The non-custodial parent has to exhaust the administrative review process in order to get the matter reviewed judicially, so that notice of delinquency triggers the only remedy that the non-custodial parent will get. Ignore it at your peril.

If you are a non-custodial parent paying a child support order now, there is a lesson in these cases for you: Keep evidence of your child support payments, whether or not you pay your child support obligation to the DOR or directly to the custodial parent. And because many banks will only keep check images for seven years (not to mention that banks have come and gone over the years) you have to rely upon yourself and keep cancelled child support checks forever – a task made easier today with digitized scanning technology. And lastly, NEVER pay your child support obligation in cash.

About the Author: James M. Lynch is a Massachusetts divorce lawyer and Massachusetts family law attorney for Lynch & Owens, located in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Schedule a free consultation with James M. Lynch today at (781) 741-5000 or send him an email:

Questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions: Divorce in Massachusetts page and the Lynch & Owens Divorce Series for more information about divorce in Massachusetts. If you need the assistance of a family law attorney, please call us at (781) 741-5000, or send us an email, to schedule a free 1-hour consultation.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. You are invited to contact our office. Contacting the office does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to the office until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. This blog is considered an advertisement for The Law Office of Lynch & Owens, P.C. The Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct broadly govern all advertisements and communications made by attorneys and law firms in the Commonwealth. Generally, legal websites and any other content published on the internet by lawyers are considered a type of communication and an advertisement, according to the Comments to Rule 7.2.

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By | 2017-04-04T09:31:48+00:00 November 19th, 2011|Categories: Child Support, Family Law, Updates|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Child Support Obligations Never Go Away in Massachusetts

About the Author:

James M. Lynch is the Managing Partner at Lynch & Owens, and is a frequent contributor to the Lynch & Owens Blog. Attorney Lynch’s areas of expertise including divorce, family law, personal injury, DUI defense and domestic violence cases. Attorney Lynch can be reached by phone at (781) 741-5000 or email at [email protected], or visit his bio page at lynchowens.com/attorneys/.