Burden is on child support recipient

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals says the burden of proving that a child support arrearage exists is on the recipient. In the case of C.M. v. B.S.L., Case No. 2030938 (Ala. Civ. App. January 14, 2005), the court acknowledged that the burden of proving that a credit AGAINST child support is on the payor.

It’s important to note that in this case there was not a court-ordered child support award. Instead, the court was interpreting the effect of a handwritten agreement signed by the parties on the inside cover of a receipt book.

The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s imposing a two-year statute of limitations on the arrearage pursuant to Ala. Code $ 26-17-8. This drastically limited the recipient’s recovery.

The lesson is clear for child support recipients. Do not rely on extra-judicial agreements about child support. Enforcing them is materially more difficult. Instead insist on a court order for child support. Once there is a court order in effect, each monthly payment is a judgment, and the statute of limitations for each monthly payment becomes 20 years from its due date.

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