New York woman’s fight for back child support spans well over three decades

It’s not uncommon to read stories about a determined mother – owed several thousands of dollars in back child support – fighting a lengthy legal battle to get all that she is entitled to under the law. However, it is uncommon to read stories about a mother’s legal fight for back child support to last well over three decades.

According to a recent story in the New York Post, Frances R., now 75, divorced her husband, Philip R., now 77, back in 1977 after nearly 20 years of marriage. As part of the 1977 divorce settlement, Philip R. was required to pay $14,393.57 in child support to Frances R.

However, he never paid any of the child support ordered by the settlement and the amount has subsequently grown to roughly $100,000 over the last thirty-four years due to interest.

Even though Frances R.’s children are now all fully grown, she has continued to fight for these child support arrears – her right under New York law – for years.

“I want justice, that’s all. My family did not deserve what he and the system did to us,” she said.

While legally permissible, the case is still considered something of an oddity in legal circles.

“There’s no doubt that this is an oddball case. A judgment so old is not usually enforceable, but with a child support judgment, it is,” said John Russo, Frances R.’s attorney.

Interestingly, Frances R. recently called Philip R. – for the first time in more than 30 years – in an attempt to force a conclusion to their prolonged legal fight.

“I begged him to settle. I told him, ‘Don’t let this case go to trial, because I’m going to win punitive damages.’ I told him, ‘There is a legal judgment, and if you think I’m going to forget it, Phil, you’re stuck on stupid,'” she said.

After hearing Frances R.’s statements, how did Philip R. respond?

He started to cry and then hung up the phone.

Stay tuned for more on this story from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child support or post-divorce issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Names have been withheld to protect the identities of the parties.

Related Resources:

75-year-old woman suing 77-year-old ex over unpaid child support 34 years after divorce (The New York Post)