Courts typically order parents to pay child support when parents divorce or separate. Sometimes, a parent does not pay child support as ordered. The other parent can sue them if this happens.

However, an interesting case from 2014 raised the question of whether a child can also sue for child support. This particular case involved a teenager attempting to take legal action against her parents when they kicked her out of their home.

This case did not result in the plaintiff being awarded damages. It was revealed that the plaintiff had voluntarily decided to leave her parents’ home. She also consistently engaged in behavior that indicated she was not willing to abide by their reasonable expectations.

That does not mean a child can never sue for child support. Although this case was unique, it did shed light on an issue that many tend to overlook.

When Can A Child Sue for Child Support in California?

It is very rare for circumstances to arise which permit a child to sue for child support. Again, it is usually a parent who has the right to sue for child support.

However, there are some notable exceptions. For example, California law usually requires both parents to provide financial support for a child under the following conditions:

  • The child has not turned 18 or 19
  • The child is still attending school full-time
  • The child is still living at home with a parent
  • The child cannot support themselves financially

However, the law also allows child support payments to continue into adulthood sometimes. This may occur if an adult child has a disability that prevents them from supporting themselves. Additionally, couples can decide to provide support to a child further into their adulthood during child support discussions and negotiations.

How Children Can Sue for Child Support to Help Their Parents

There are also instances in which a child has been living with one parent as a minor and the other parent has been failing to make child support payments despite being ordered to.

As a minor, there is little a child can do in this situation. That said, when they become an adult, they can sue the other parent for child support. They often have legal grounds to do so if their custodial parent is struggling financially as a result of unpaid child support. An adult child in these circumstances can file a lawsuit on behalf of their custodial parent to pursue support payments.

It is important to remember that children never receive child support payments. In this situation, a child suing for child support would not receive any money. If they win their case, the parent on whose behalf they were filing a lawsuit would be the one who receives payment.

This is not meant to discourage an adult child in California from taking legal action if they believe they have reason to sue for child support. Such details highlight how complex these types of cases often are. A thorough understanding of California law is necessary when determining whether an adult child has grounds to sue for child support if a parent isn’t paying what they were ordered to pay.

Are you not sure whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit for child support? Consider reviewing your case with a qualified family law attorney if so. They can help you better understand what your legal options may be.