Raising a child is no small undertaking. From ferrying kids around to extracurricular activities to helping them excel academically, being a parent in California can be exhausting. For divorced parents, parenting can also be financially exhausting. Child support is essential for maintaining a child’s sense of financial security after a divorce, but what if the parent ordered to pay avoids his or her responsibility?

Despite finalizing her divorce nearly 50 years ago, a 74-year-old woman recently secured $150,000 in back child support. She said that at the time of her divorce her ex-husband was ordered to pay $160 per month for their daughter. Instead of paying, he apparently made an international move. When the woman discovered that he had returned to the United States and was living in another state, she decided to take action.

She filed a petition with a family law judge, requesting that her ex be ordered to pay her the child support he had avoided decades ago. The judge approved the petition, adding 10 percent to the original $30,000 he was supposed to pay. This would have totalled closer to $170,000, but they reached an agreement for the amount of $150,000.

The state of California does not have a statute of limitations when it comes to seeking back child support, which means that people can take action even decades later. However, since child support is so important to a child’s well being after divorce, acting sooner rather than later might be a good idea. Petitioning the court for an enforcement of a current order is usually a good place to start, but those who feel unsure of how to proceed should consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney.