California Mother Receives Child Support Almost Fifty Years Later

Almost fifty years ago a California judge ordered a California father, Mr. Don Lenhert, to pay monthly Child Support to his child’s mother, Ms. Toni Anderson. According to Mr. Anderson, Mr. Lenherdt thereafter quickly disappeared and was never to be heard from again. Over the course of their child’s lifetime, he failed to pay a total of approximately $30,000 in child support. Ms. Anderson never saw a penny.

Ms. Anderson, now 74 years old, recently learned that under California law there is no statute of limitation for her to pursue the child support Mr. Lehnhardt owed. In 2018, she filed a claim for the past due child support. Given the time that had expired since the original child support was due, she claimed that Mr. Lehnhardt owed her a total of about $150,000 under California law due to the interest that had accrued.

Fortunately for Ms. Anderson, her child’s long-estranged father actually showed up in court and agreed to pay all he owed, beginning with a large lump sum and then monthly payments thereafter. Ms. Anderson said that she hopes the case serves as a reminder for parents to stay vigilant about the support another parent owes their child.

North Carolina Child Support Laws

This case raises some important issues under both North Carolina and Federal law. In North Carolina, past-due child support debt can only be relieved if the entire debt is paid. Further, child support debts also hold a special status in Federal bankruptcy law. While many types of debt can be relieved in a bankruptcy proceeding, child support debts are considered non-dischargeable debts of debtors, meaning they must eventually be paid in full.

Do you have more questions about current or past-due child support payments? If so, give us a call at (704) 810-1400, or submit an online request to schedule a consultation today.

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