An obligation exists between father and child, the father having a duty to provide support, and the child having the right to receive support from his father. The enforceability of the obligation, however, does not run in a parallel manner. In Worthington v. Worthington, a guardian acting in behalf of seven minor children attempted to enforce the children's right of support against their father; the St. Louis Court of Appeals affirmed the father's demurrer. The court held that even though the father's duty to support his children was a legal duty, no cause of action is recognized in the children themselves. The underlying concept in equity was that the stability of families would be threatened if dissatisfied children could sue their father. The result of recognizing the child's legal right to support, while denying him any direct remedy, is that the duty can be enforced only by third parties acting for the benefit of the child. Probably the most common and most logical person to enforce this duty is the child's mother. The objective of this comment is to summarize and analyze the ability of a minor child's mother to enforce his right of support against the child's father. To make this attainable, the scope has been limited to consideration of the situation where all three parties-father, mother, and child-are residents of Missouri.
Gerald D. McBeth,
Child Support in Missouri: The Father's Duty, the Child's Right and the Mother's Ability to Enforce,
36 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol36/iss3/3