Occasionally, the custodial parent never files for child support payments and, as a result, never receives the money during the child’s upbringing.
If this is your case and you have decided to file for child support, you may wonder if there is still time to do so. The lawsuit is usually processed when there is a prior legal obligation to pay child support.
Could I get retroactive child support?
When we talk about “retroactive child support,” we refer to the need to obtain child support that has not been paid for a long period. Depending on the case presented, a judge has the power to order the payment of retroactive support.
The amount of support obtained depends on different factors. The first will be how much the obligor parent was required to pay according to the child support guidelines since the child’s birth.
On the other hand, the obligor parent’s a fair share of the money they have spent when they have not made the appropriate payments are assessed. When a request for retroactive child support is made, the obligor parent can make the payments to the state or the custodial parent.
We should note that even if the child has reached the age of majority, the payment can be requested and awarded to the custodial parent for all monies used for the child’s upbringing. Conversely, payment will be awarded to the state when the custodial parent receives public assistance during the child’s upbringing.
In a sense, it will reimburse the state for the money provided in public assistance. To access this benefit, you must apply each state’s guidelines to proceed with the claim.
When do the courts authorize retroactive child support?
In most states, retroactive child support is authorized for parents who long wait for a court order. Suppose a mother applies for child support on January 1, and the court does not finalize the order until April 1.
The judge usually orders those parents to catch up on their child support payments from January through April. The amount the benefit was awarded is considered and cannot influence the continuity of payment for the following months.
Difference between support arrears and retroactive payments
When the entire procedure for obtaining child support is done, and the court orders the monthly payment of a specific amount, the parent is obligated to comply each month. If any of the months the payment is not made on time, there is a delay in the child support.
Retroactive child support, on the other hand, is the accumulation of payments before the judge issues the order for payments. If many years have passed and the order was not appointed, and the suit is resumed for some reason, the parent responsible for the payments must catch up.
The retroactive award will begin to be considered from the child support application date.
The time limit for obtaining retroactive payments
Although the state allows retroactive support, each state has a law establishing the time limits for obtaining retroactive support. For example, the limit is three years in North Carolina before the parent’s request.
However, in areas such as Michigan, retroactive support is not allowed. On the other hand, in California, it is permitted but is only calculated from the date the petition for divorce or support was filed with the other parent.
For this reason, it is important to know the laws governing child support in each state before making the corresponding applications. In this way, we can avoid inconveniences and misunderstandings.
We should also note that the only way to make this request is if there is a prior child support claim. If the custodial parent has never made the corresponding procedures, they will not be able to access this option.