When parents divorce, any minor children connected to the marriage must be supported. Family law oversees the health and financial welfare of children using child support provisions and those laws can be surprisingly strict and far-reaching. For example, those ordered to pay child support can no longer simply move to another state to escape that obligation since federal law tracks parents no matter where they go. When it comes to child support issues, two similar-sounding types of child support create a bit of confusion. Read on for some more information about retroactive child support and back child support.
What Is Retroactive Child Support?
To understand retroactive child support, it might be helpful to think of it as child support that is owed before it was ordered. In most cases, the mother may petition the court for child support as soon as the pregnancy is known. Retroactive child support travels back in time to cover pregnancy and childbirth expenses once the case is before a judge. For the mother that can show proof of expenses, retroactive child support can cover nursery expenses, medical needs, and more. You should understand that with this type of retroactive payment, the mother must request it — it's not automatic.
The second type of retroactive child support can cover the separation period. As long as the parents of a child live together, no support may be ordered. Once the couple no longer lives under the same roof, child support can be paid. Many separated spouses, though, are unaware that child support can begin before the divorce is final. The judge can order the responsible party to pay retroactive child support that goes back to the date of the separation. Don't disregard support payments under these circumstances, even if you expect the divorce to be quick and easy. Parties that need support can appeal to the judge at any time during the divorce. So if that quick and easy divorce turns into a long battle, talk to your lawyer about child support.
Back Child Support
Once child support is ordered, it becomes a legal matter. When the obligated parent fails to pay as ordered, that is known as back child support. No matter what happens, back child support never goes away and it can sometimes create tough situations for the paying parent. For example, parents that fall behind on support payments can lose their driving privileges, have their income tax refunds withheld, have their wages garnished, and much more. Whether you are the recipient or the responsible party, speak to your lawyer for more information about child support.
For more information, contact a family lawyer in your area.