California Retroactive Child Support Laws

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Can I Collect Retroactive Child Support in California?

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

When Can I Collect Retroactive Child Support in California?

Child support is generally awarded when one parent has primary physical custody of a child, and the other does not. The child is legally entitled to the support of both parents until he or she reaches the age of 18. Similarly, the non-custodial parent of a child is entitled to due process of law, and certain steps must be made before a child support order will be made.

First, the non-custodial parent be given notice that the other parent has filed a petition for child support. This is so the non-custodial parent 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 properly served on the non-custodial parent.

However, this usually occurs 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.

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, retroactive child support will only be granted 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?

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

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Last Modified: 09-15-2014 10:08 AM PDT

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