Are Delinquent Child Support Payments Owed to Someone Who Is Deceased?
- January 14, 2014
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Roder v. Roder is a New Jersey Appellate Division case that was decided on December 31, 2013 involving the issue of whether delinquent child support payments owed to a person who has died should be paid to the deceased person’s estate or to her son. The administrator of the estate issued an appeal from a lower court’s order directing that the delinquent child support payments be made directly to the deceased individual’s son. The deceased person, Adrian Ashford married Donald Roder in 1987. Upon their marriage, Mr. Roder adopted Ms. Ashford’s son, Matthew. In 1997, the couple decided to divorce and according to the property settlement agreement that was incorporated into the parties’ Final Judgment of Divorce, Ms. Ashford would have custody of Matthew and Mr. Roder would have visitation with him and pay $150 a week in child support until Matthew is emancipated. In July 2009, a New Jersey Family Division Court determined that Matthew had pursued a full-time college degree and was emancipated upon his graduation from college rather than on his eighteenth birthday. Mr. Roder had stopping paying child support years before Matthew graduated from college and therefore it was determined that he owed Ms. Ashford $40,648.53 in child support arrears. Ms. Ashford died on January 12, 2011, one month after the Appellate Division denied Mr. Roder’s appeal. The Appellate Division concluded that the Family Court should have properly enforced the child support order by ordering that the delinquent child support payments be made to the decedent’s estate for distribution under the supervision of the Probate Part. According to the Appellate Division, the Family Court issued an order that distributed an asset of an estate to one of the decedent’s three heirs and that this was a function of the Probate Part. The Court noted that there was nothing before the Family Court that even suggested that the child support payments that were owed were anything more than a debt owed to a deceased person’s estate for the support of a child. If you anticipate that you will become involved in a dispute concerning child support or emancipation it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about child support, custody & visitation, emancipation, parenting time, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.