Can a woman sue a man for back child support if there was never a court order?

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My sister is 3 months shy of being 18. My father has been paying child support willingly and on his own for the last 8 years. 3 years of which my sister lived with him. The first 10 years of her life he was "away". He also always gives my mother and sister both extra money when they ask for it. Now that my sister is almost 18, my mother is getting scared because his support is a good piece of her income, and my mother is threatening to sue him for back child support. Can she do this when there was never a court order?

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Rachel Lea Hunter

Answered 2 months ago

Yes and no. Child support orders are prospective in that child support runs from the date the child support petition is filed. However, caselaw permits a mother (its usually the mother) to seek retroactive support from the man. This support is not based on the child support guidelines but allows the mother to recoup some of her reasonable expenses incurred in caring for the child. GA appears to allow the mother to go back to the date of the child's birth in attempting to establish these expenses. See Smith v. Carter, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-court-of-appeals/1533522.html