My Absent Dad Won’t Help Me Financially. Is There Anything I Can Do?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

‘My parents were never legally married but they separated back in 2004. I turned 18 on April 2010. I’ve lived with my mom in Washington state ever since, but we have a very low income. She has never filed for child support from my dad because she thought he would eventually support us. He never has supported us or me in any way.

I used to keep in touch with him through email/phone. However, recently when I asked him to send some money (for school and medical reasons) he refused and is not contacting me back. I found his phone number and business place but he still isn’t communicating with me.

I never thought I would sue him or ask him for money, but now I feel like I have to do something. We are struggling financially and moving to a different house because our current house has been on short sale. We cannot afford a lawyer. Please help me with any suggestions/advice on what I can do within Washington state laws. Is it possible to get the past 6 years worth of child support? Can he pay for post secondary support for my school expenses? Thank you so much for your help in advance.’Unfortunately, if there has never been any case filed, you may be out of luck – but then again, you may not. Your first step should be calling one of the legal aid clinics in Washington state, and asking them the same question, as every state is different.

Question: In addition, if you or your mom ever applied for or accepted any sort of state aid, the state may be willing to get involved in trying to collect support for you.The good news is that, with respect to college, you quite likely will qualify for certain financial aid grants. Grants are different than student loans, as they do not need to be paid back.
Good luck! You sound like a young adult with a good head on your shoulders, and I suspect you’re going to do very well for yourself in any event.