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Retroactive Child Support Explained


Under the law, there is a distinction between a parent who refuses their child support obligations and a parent who has yet to be given child support orders. However, parents who have not been given a child support order can still be ordered to pay retroactive child support for a specified period time before the order for child support was officially granted by a court.

One example where retroactive child support payments might apply would be if one parent is ordered to pay for the other parents expresses dating back to when their child was born. Retroactive child support orders can also apply to the months in between the start and conclusion of a divorce case

Child support that is past-due is also called “back” child support. Past due child-support happens when one parent doesn’t pay their court ordered child support on time. Courts are able to enforce sanctions or penalties on parents who fail to meet all of their child support obligations. Court sanctions can include fines, paying for the opposing party’s attorney fees, and the possibility of time in jail.

How to Seek Retroactive Child Support

The parent seeking retroactive child support will have to file a formal petition with the court. Their petition must specifically ask for retroactive payments for certain dates and needs to include reasons that justify the support award. Reasons to seek retroactive child support include:

  • The child in question has unmet financial needs
  • One parent has concealed finances or valuable assets during the divorce proceedings
  • The non-custodial parent deliberately missed their payment obligations

A judge has a lot of room for interpretation when it comes to issuing a retroactive child support order. However, the longer a parent waits to file their petition, the harder it will be for them to claim retroactive child support.

Calculating Retroactive Child Support

Although courts use both parent’s income to calculate child support amounts, child support awards are generally based on the lower earning parent’s wages. Courts will also consider any past payments that were made by the parents, including those that were not issued by the court. Retroactive child support payments can also be reduced to let a parent catch up on both old and current payments.

Do you need help getting retroactive child support from your ex? At L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC we are committed to making sure that the children of our clients have healthy living conditions on a day-to-day basis. If your spouse refuses to pay their child support obligations, we can help you take legal action against them. Our team of attorneys will review your case and devise a legal strategy that will ensure your legal rights and interests are protected. Let us fight for you today.

Contact our Dayton family law attorneys to talk to our legal team about your case.