A friend of mine, while living in Israel nearly 25 years ago, became pregnant by her then-boyfriend, who was married to someone else. When she informed him of her pregnancy, he ended their relationship and informed her that he would not support her or the child financially. Lacking confidence in the Israeli judicial system, she moved back to her native Arizona and never sued for child support. She repeatedly asked the father for financial help but he refused. Her daughter is now 24, but the father has since moved to the San Diego area. Is it too late for her to sue for retroactive child support? If so, can she sue him in California? What jurisdiction's law applies to this situation?
1 Answer from Attorneys
It is always hard to answer a question when the question is written for "a friend of mine"... Your friend has waited until the child has become an adult. Generally in cases where child support is in issue, it is necessary to establish paternity. There is always a presumption that the father of the child is the husband. In the absence of proving paternity, an order for child support payments is not likely. It would be a tough case because I suspect that paternity for the child was never established. If the child were not an adult, a petition to establish paternity and collect child support is a IV-D action which is national law and the case is generally handled by the attorney general's office in this state. I suspect that the attorney general would not be interested in pursuing this case because no one brought it to their attention while the child was a minor. In addition, child support can only be awarded for the child up to three years before the petition is filed. Because there is a presumption that husband is the child's father, that person was legally responsible for the payment of child support if the couple divorced. Since it is unclear what happened to husband, the answer is unclear.