California Retroactive Child Support Laws

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What Are Retroactive Child Support Payments In California?

California retroactive child support payment is child support payments for a period that the non-custodial parent was not ordered by the court to pay any child support. This means that the court is seeking child support for a period before the order to pay was actually finalized. Retroactive child support payments are different than late or unpaid child support payments that were previously ordered by the court.

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

When Can I Collect Retroactive Child Support in California?

In California, 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.

Retroactive child support payments are required if:

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.

How Are Retroactive Child Support Payments Calculated?

The amount that the court orders for the payments to be backdated to could be to the date the notice was service or any subsequent date decided by the court. When calculating retroactive child support payment amounts, these factors are considered:

What Is The Difference Between Modification of Payments and Retroactive Child Support Payments?

In California, modifications of child support payments occurs when one parent or both parents petition the court to modify the existing amount of payments the court has already ordered. The difference between retroactive payments is that retroactive payments backdates the the payments to a period that the non-custodial parent was not ordered by the court to pay. Courts will not retroactively change the amount of support that was already owned.

Modifications deal with future payments while retroactive payments deal with payments that was before the actual child support payment the court ordered.

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: 01-28-2015 03:16 PM PST

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