Back Child Support: What To Know

22 July 2019
 Categories: Law, Blog

When parents part ways, child support is one of those unique issues that is more bound in legal red tape than most. Many couples are perfectly free to make decisions about custody, visitation, debt divisions, and property allocations. Who pays child support, however, is strictly governed by a myriad of regulations and income calculations. Once custody has been decided, the non-custodial parent is almost always ordered to pay the other parent a sum of money based on their income. To find out more about an issue called back child support, read on.

What Back Child Support is Not

Two very similar situations can occur when it comes to child support. If a parent fails to live up to their financial obligation for a child, the support is in arrears. The amount of money the parent owes for past obligations is known as back child support. There is another type of back child support, however. Also known as retroactive child support, this is a financial obligation for the parent but it covers a period of time that took place prior to the actual child support being issued by a judge.

Taking Things Back Through Time

If a mother wishes, she can appeal to the family court and have child support begin during pregnancy. At this point, the funds go towards preparing for the baby that is to come. Often, the mother uses these initial child support payments to cover needed nursery supplies, clothing, feeding equipment, clothing for the baby, and more. In some cases, the mother never seeks this form of child support but all states carry provisions for it. If the mother takes action to regain those funds at a later date, it is paid retroactively.

Bridging the Divorce Gap

It's not unnecessary for a mother who needs child support to be married to the father. Unmarried or separated parents have equal rights to gain financial help for their child. When a married relationship ends, things are a bit different than when an unmarried relationship ends. The point at which child support becomes an issue is when the parents are no longer residing in the same home. For parents who were married and are now separated, child support becomes ensnared in the upcoming divorce. That means the orders for child support are temporary pending the divorce. Once the divorce is final, so are the orders for support. If the parent who has custody of the child during the separation fails to ask for temporary child support, it can be ordered to be paid retroactively.

To find out more about retroactive child support, speak to a divorce law attorney.