Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Child Support - Indiana's Statute of LImitations - New Case

From Indiana's Court of Appeals yesterday came a decision on how much time there is to collect back child support.

More to the point, In Re the Paternity of S.J.J.; Patrick Burns v. Lesia Johnson (PDF format) deals with those cases straddling the 1995 change in the statute of limitations. Father argued that he owed no child support accruing before December 28, 1995 as mother filed her petition to collect support on December 28, 2005. The Court of Appeals plunged into statutory interpretation.

The current statute, Ind. Code § 34-11-2-10, reads like this:

An action to enforce a child support obligation must be commenced not later than ten (years) after:
(1) the eighteenth birthday of the child; or
(2) the emancipation of the child;
whichever occurs first.
The following paragraphs contain the second part of the statutory interpretation:
To determine how we treat support payments accrued prior to May 8, 1995, we turn to the “Second Rule” announced in Connell: “a new statute of limitations cannot revive a claim which was foregone under the prior statute of limitations before passage of the new one.” 725 N.E.2d at 506. “Prior to I.C. § 34-1-2-1.6 going into effect on May 8, 1995, the statute of limitations governing . . . claims for child support arrearages was I.C. § 34-11-1-2, which would have barred all claims more than ten years old, that is, all claims prior to May 8, 1985.” Id. Therefore, Johnson may not collect any child support payments that accrued prior to May 8, 1985. See id.

Burns’ first child support payment was due October 31, 1986. Accordingly, any unpaid child support may still be collected. The trial court did not err in so finding. As Burns alleges no other error in the court’s calculation of his arrearage, we affirm in all respects.
For more articles from me on child support, just click on the link below next to the word "Labels" that says "child support".

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