divorce settlement
Jade Small
Jade Small
April 21, 2024 ·  3 min read

Woman sues ex for child support 50 years after divorce, is awarded $150K

Mothers being owed child support from their fathers is nothing new. Most of us know someone who is raising a child all on her own, if not doing so ourselves. Many of us were raised by single mothers, too. And while, yes, there are many great dads out there, there are also many who owe a tremendous amount of child support to women struggling to make ends meet and keep food on the table.

In the United States alone, there are about 15 million single-parent households. Of those 15 million, about 80 percent are families being led by single mothers. Worldwide, in homes with children aged 14 and under, 88 percent of single-parent families, are led by single moms. Many of which are due child support from fathers.[1]

That’s why, when we hear about stories like this one, we can’t help but smile!

After 50 years, this woman will finally be getting her child support money

At the ripe age of 74, Toni Anderson finally won. The Californian woman was awarded a total of $150,000 in child support due to her from the past 50 years ago.

Back in 1966, Toni married a man named Don Lenhart. Their marriage lasted only two years, and the couple split in 1968. By 1970, Tori was officially divorced. In that same year, a Judge ordered Don to pay child support for their daughter, Lane. Don was expected to pay $210 a month to start, which would eventually decrease to just $160 each month. Even back then, this was by no means a modest sum.

Don Lenhart skipped the country after sending a lump sum to Toni. That checked bounced.[2]

The first check bounced, and then he went off to Canada with his girlfriend and had two more kids. He completely disappeared” 

Toni Anderson – CNN

Read: Woman Says Husband ‘Shushing’ Her During Childbirth Ended Their Marriage

Supporting a child with no child support is no easy task

Toni had given up on ever receiving any child support from Don. She continued to live month to month and paycheck to paycheck, supporting her daughter on her own.

Speaking to KGTV, Tori says she just kind of forgot about it eventually. And while she was still able to provide for her daughter, it was not easy;

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

Toni Anderson – KGTV

And, after 50 years, with her daughter all grown up. Tori had a revelation.[2]

It’s never to late to get what’s due to you

Tori realized that there was no statute of limitations in the state of California; there was no statute of limitations barring her from seeking the child support money she was owed. She decided to google her ex-husband and found him.

She discovered he now lived in Oregon and owned a large home and even a boat.

Tori decided to give it a go and try to get her money from Don, and she filed a motion to seek unpaid child support.

After all the years that had passed, plus the interest and fees for her attorney, the $35,000 owed to her increased tenfold. She was awarded $150,000 when the case was settled.

It would seem Don had realized his mistake, as he issued the following statement via his attorney;[3]

Glad to pay Ms. Anderson the child support that was owed and I wish her only the best in the future.”

“We had an informal agreement that I was operating off of after our divorce, but when Ms. Anderson filed her motion in 2018 to collect the $35,000 in principal plus interest, I hired a private investigator to locate her so I could offer her payment. I am pleased we were able to reach an agreement.”

Don Lenhart

While the child support was way overdue, we are glad Toni got what she deserved in the end. And her story will hopefully encourage other single mothers out there to do the same and get what is due.

Keep Reading: Midwives told to say ‘chestfeeding’ instead of ‘breastfeeding’ in gender-inclusive move


  1. Single Mother Statistics That Will Shock You.The Life of a Single Mom.
  2. A woman won $150k in child support 50 years after her divorce.Small Joys.
  3. Nearly 50 years later, Carlsbad woman wins $150K in overdue child support.” Sandiego Union Tribune. Teri Figueroa.March 28, 2019.