California Retroactive Child Support Lawyers

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Can I Collect Retroactive Child Support in California?

Most states, including California, allow a person to collect child support retroactively, to a limited degree.

When Can I Collect Retroactive Child Support in California?

Child support is generally awarded when one parent has custody of a child, and the other doesn’t. The child is legally entitled to the support of both parents until he or she reaches the age of 18, beginning at birth.

However, the non-custodial parents of a child are entitled to due process of law, and must be given notice that the other parent has filed a petition for child support, before a legally-binding child support judgment can be imposed. This is so the non-custodial parent – usually the father – can contest the child support award, either on the basis that it’s excessive, or that he is not actually the biological father. For this reason, the child support petition must be served on the non-custodial parent.

However, this usually occurs some time after the petition for child support is actually filed with the court. Once the petition is granted, the court can award child support retroactive to the date the petition was filed with the court, even if the petition is served some time after it was filed.

Are There Any Restrictions on Collecting Retroactive Child Support in California?

There are significant limits on collecting retroactive child support in California. In most cases, child support will only be granted retroactively back to the date of service if the non-custodial parent was served 90 days or less after the petition was filed, assuming that they did not deliberately try to avoid or delay service.

If service takes longer than 90 days, through no fault of the person being served, child support payments will be calculated from the date of service, not the date of filing.

Do I Need an Attorney to Collect Retroactive Child Support in California?

The issues surrounding child support in California can get pretty complicated. For that reason, you should not hesitate to contact a California family attorney if you are faced with a retroactive child support petition. A qualified California lawyer can provided you more information if there is a legal basis for the claim.

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Last Modified: 09-06-2012 09:12 AM PDT

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