Back Child Support Laws

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What Is Back Child Support?

“Back child support” refers to unpaid child support payments that were missed in the past. Generally speaking, for instance, a parent may have a legal obligation to make monthly child support payments for the child’s basic necessities. If they fail to make payments, these missed amounts can be accrued over time and may be subject to collection through legal procedures.

Also called “retroactive child support,” back child support is usually easier to deal with if the parties have a working child support order. Without a child support order, it can become complicated in terms of calculating the amount of back support that is owed.

How Can Back Child Support Be Obtained?

Back child support usually requires legal action in order to be obtained. The party seeking the back payments generally needs to file a request with a family law court. The judge can then review the facts of the situation to determine whether any back child support is owed, and if so, how much should be paid. 

Calculating back child support can often involve many factors, including: the date of the child’s birth; the date of the parent’s separation or divorce (if applicable); whether either parent is employed; and the reported reasons for the non-payment.

Again, obtaining back child support is usually much more straight-forward when the parties already have a court child support order in place. This will help provide documentations and records of previous payments that were missed. 

What If the Other Party Still Won’t Pay the Back Child Support?

In serious instances of non-payment, the court may need to order some more drastic measures in order to collect the missed amounts. These can include:

Sometimes modifying support payments can be an acceptable option for both parties. Failure to comply with court orders can often lead to legal consequences in other areas, such as child visitation or custody rights.

Do I Need a Lawyer For Help with Back Child Support Laws?

Back child support payments can have major effects on a child’s upbringing and well-being. If you need legal assistance with the back child support laws in your area, you may need to hire an experienced family law attorney. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on your legal options, and can also represent you during any formal court proceedings.  

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Last Modified: 11-06-2013 03:19 PM PST

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