81 year old mother sues for child support payments from 60 years ago

by Walter Olson on April 7, 2010

There’s no statute of limitations on child support, and Rosemary Douglas says she’s still owed the money for the birth of a son during the Truman Administration. [Houston Chronicle]

Correction/update: Commenter Patrick points out that this is an enforcement-of-judgment matter rather than a suit, and offers a reading of Texas law likely to be of interest to the alleged dad in the case.

{ 3 comments }

1 Patrick 04.07.10 at 10:41 am

As you know, one may sue for anything. Winning is a different matter.

But this lady isn’t suing, so “statute of limitations” is a misnomer. Rather, she says she’s attempting to enforce a judgment entered sixty years ago. According to Texas Family Code 157.005, the court is divested of jurisdiction to enforce child support judgments ten years after the child reaches majority. Whether that statute was in effect in the 1950s (it wasn’t) is immaterial, because this is a statutory limitation on the court’s jurisdiction. The court has no authority whatsoever in this matter, and should dismiss the case sua sponte.

The defendant can buy lunch for me the next time I’m in Houston. I prefer Mexican when I’m in Texas, as long as the restaurant is clean.

2 Benjamin 04.07.10 at 2:16 pm

If a Mexican restaurant is clean (in the kitchen anyway), then the food is no good.

3 Melvin H. 04.10.10 at 3:24 am

Patrick, just out of curiousity: Under the section of TX law you quoted, she could only sue for the amount of child support from the day the divorce was final to the age of majority (plus any interest up to the latter date?), and the court can’t enforce judgement for payments after 10 years from the age of majority. The court has no jurisdiction after that 10-year-from-majority date, also.
Could the father sue for rule-11 sanctions, ask to vacate the order, ask for dismissal with prejudice (correct term?), so she’s prohibited from suing again…..or could the child(-ren) sue the father for the support from, what, 40 years ago?

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