A judgment or judgment lien for accrued child support in Washington remains in force for 10 years after the youngest child named in the order turns 18, pursuant to RCW 4.56.210. The statute therefore generally makes a child support judgment unenforceable after the youngest child turns 28. Washington courts have referred to this statute as a “nonclaim statute.”
RCW 74.20A.220 allows a parent to extend or waive “any statute which may bar or impair the collection of the debt….” A father recently challenged the applicability of his waiver to RCW 4.56.210 on the ground that it is a nonclaim statute rather than a statute of limitations.
The father was ordered to pay monthly child support when his marriage was dissolved. He made the first child support payment nine years after the order was entered. He subsequently signed a waiver eliminating the time limit for collecting the approximately $50,000 he owed in unpaid child support. The “Waiver of the Statute of Limitations Defense” stated it applied to “[a]ny statute of limitations defense created by RCW 4.16.020, RCW 4.56.210, or RCW 6.17.020” and any other statute “that limits the time DCS can collect [the defendant’s] support debt.” The waiver further stated it allowed DCS to collect until the defendant had paid the support debt in full.