Mother wins child support back pay from ex-husband after nearly 50 years

CARLSBAD, CA (KGTV/CNN) - A California woman was awarded $150,000 in child support, nearly 50 years after she says her ex-husband left her to raise their 3-year-old daughter without any help.

Toni Anderson makes no apologies for suing the man she calls her “deadbeat ex,” who she says chose to go to Canada in the early 1970s rather than pay court-ordered child support.

Left with a 3-year-old daughter at the time, Anderson supported the child, who is now in her 50s, while working as an interior designer in Los Angeles.

"I kind of put it on the back burner and just kind of forgot about it over the years,” Anderson said. "I'm not negating the fact I was able to send my daughter to college, Paris, and we traveled and had a good time. But the money runs out.”

After her divorce, Toni Anderson (right) raised her daughter, who is now in her 50s, on her own while working as an interior designer in Los Angeles. (Source: KGTV/CNN)
After her divorce, Toni Anderson (right) raised her daughter, who is now in her 50s, on her own while working as an interior designer in Los Angeles. (Source: KGTV/CNN) (Source: KGTV/CNN)

Anderson says now that she’s retired, money is tight. She admits she rents her part of the house.

“I realized in the middle of the night one night last year that there's no statute of limitations on child support,” Anderson said.

Anderson looked up old court papers and, in February, notified her ex-husband, who’s now living in Oregon, that she wanted him to pay up. But the amount she was seeking was far more than what he was asked to pay nearly a half-century ago.

“He was only supposed to give me $160 a month. Well, that was 50 years ago, so that, today, is a lot more money,” Anderson said.

With an accrued interest of 10 percent per year, what would have been a total payment of around $30,000 came out to more than $170,000.

Along with getting the money she’s due, Anderson also wants to spread the word to other single parents in California that they can still collect.

“I don't think enough women get this, and I think they're afraid,” she said.

Anderson and her ex ended up settling at a private hearing last Wednesday for $150,000, according to the woman’s lawyer.

"I think he’s a little bit panicked, and I’m very happy because I was panicked all these years. Now, it’s his turn,” Anderson said.

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