Washington readers may recall that last year a woman decided to return her foreign-born adoptive son to his native land because he had exhibited violent behavior. To the disbelief of many, she sent the boy alone on the return plane trip to his native country, with only a letter explaining her decision. The change of heart about the adoption led to international headlines about the case. Now, the woman has been sued for child support for the boy by the agency that originally handled the adoption.
The young boy, a 7-year-old at the time his adoptive mother sent him packing, now resides in his native country of Russia. The adoption agency asked the court to require that the adoptive mother pay $150,000 in child support for the boy. The court awarded the requested amount after the former adoptive mother defaulted in appearing.
The default judgment has since been upheld, even though the mother sought to have it vacated. The default was granted because of the failure of the mother to respond to a summons to appear in court and to submit to depositions. The after-the-fact appearance to dispute the child support judgment was deemed to be too late by the judge presiding over these Tennessee proceedings.
Child support orders in Washington and elsewhere are typically valid for the entire childhood of the kids involved. They can last until the age of 18 and beyond, in some circumstances. It was not reported if the $150,000 judgment was to cover past child support claimed due or was prospective in nature. One thing is certain: ignoring a summons to appear in court to answer child support claims may lead to judgments and enforcement measures against any recalcitrant party.