Let’s start with a hypothetical situation. Assume John and Jane are married and John moves out of the house before Jane files for divorce. Months pass and John does not contribute any money to the care of the children. When Jane files for divorce, what happens to all of the months John did not pay?
In all likelihood, John will have to pay Jane retroactive child support.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- What retroactive child support is;
- When it is required; and
- How it is calculated
What is Retroactive Child Support?
Retroactive child support refers to payments that were missed or never paid in the past. Non-custodial parents, or the parent the children don’t live with most of the time, are those ordered to pay child support. Once the non-custodial parent begins missing payments, he or she is obligated to pay back support, or retroactive support, to the custodial parent.
The term “retroactive” in this sense means support will be ordered from the date of the official child support order and the time at which the non-custodial parent left or the obligations between the parties otherwise changed.
Retroactive child support is commonly referred to as child support “arrearages.”
When is Retroactive Support Required?
Retroactive support is required in a variety of circumstances:
- A non-custodial parent did not fully disclose his or her assets and has therefore been underpaying support;
- A non-custodial parent delayed hearing or settlement on the issue to avoid paying; or
- The court identifies another need for retroactive support
How is Retroactive Support Calculated?
All of the same factors used to calculate child support will also be used to calculate arrearages. In fact, the retroactive support will be the typical child support amount calculated for the time period it wasn’t paid.
A non-custodial parent must pay for the period defined by the court, which can be as far back as when you and your spouse separated.
Do You Owe Retroactive Support?
If so, it’s best to consult a divorce attorney in Naperville now before you deepen into arrearages or worse, receive the wrong kind of attention from your judge.
If you’re interested in learning more about retroactive child support, call Larry for your free, 30-minute consultation at 630-470-9990. If you prefer, you may also request an appointment online. We look forward to speaking with you!