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I'm a second spouse with a stepdaughter who's 21 and about to graduate college. We had full physical custody and joint legal custody. Spouse's ex, DD's other birth parent, never contributed child support. Not a dime. We never asked; the Ex used to be penniless, so we sucked it up and dealt. However, Ex's mother has died and left Ex around 150k. We are tapped out after putting DD through college (and one of us is out of work), so DD plans to ask Ex for $16,000 to offset part of graduate school tuition and living expenses, expecting to pay the rest with jobs and savings -- she has worked part-time all through college and has nearly 10k of her own(!) -- although she has 25k in student loans also.

The question: if the Ex balks, can we sue for back child support? DD is planning to ask nicely and has written a very polite letter, and Ex does want a relationship with her, so maybe that will do it. But it would be nice to have some leverage. The Ex has never been bothered by not paying child support and was shocked once when DS said that if Ex had any money, we'd expect some. Ex actually asked me privately if I agreed with that. (Uh, yes.)

All advice appreciated. We don't have a lawyer and are hoping to avoid needing one -- but the kid's going to graduate school if anything we can do will get her there.
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