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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 06-01-2013, 04:06 PM
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Default Retroactive Child Support

1. How far back can one go in respect to claiming retroactive child support? For example if party did not pay child support for the first two years and only began paying child support in 2009, are they still on the hook to pay child support for 2007 and 2008? Is child support ever written off?

2. To put it another way, if there is a final order in place that states, child support should be paid as follows beginning January of next year but does not mention anything about retroactive support, does it mean it is assumed there is no claim for child support for the first two years and no future claim will be made?

3. If the level of child support has not been adjusted for four years, but both parties argue that it should have been adjusted in their favor, can it still be adjusted retroactively?

4. Does the validity of the claim depend on who brought a motion to change forward for an adjustment to child support? I.E. one party brings forward a motion for an adjustment and in response opposing party says I meant to bring forward motion to change back a couple of years ago and did not get around it to it, but I'd like to have a readjustment retroactively, because I think I paid too much.

In short, what are the rules governing retroactive child support?
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:15 PM
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If the recipient hasn't bothered to ask for a recalculation for a while, I think they can only get retro CS to the date that they started asking. You can't just say you meant to but forgot. If the recipient has been trying and trying to get a recalculation and the payor has been uncooperative, I think retro can go back all the way.

Anecdotally, I think recovering overpayments is extremely difficult.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:55 PM
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If there is no order and no support has been paid, then child support retroactively goes to the date of separation. This is because child support is the right of the child. Because of stalling and failure to disclose, and waiting for a court date, this can take years to settle.

If child support has been paid, even if it is too little, then retroactive support goes to the date the support amount is requested to change. It One parent asking the other to update the amount establishes the date, it doesn't need a formal court application. After that there can be years of squabbling, not providing financial disclosure, etc. The retro date goes to the date that it was asked for.

The exception to that, if the paying party had a significant change in income, but did not volunteer this information, then the retroactive amount will go back beyond the date it was requested. Courts, as far as I know, limit it to 5 years.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:38 AM
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There's a good collection of relevant court cases here:

Retroactive Child Support

What I got from a fairly superficial read-through (bearing in mind that I do not have legal training and may have missed important things) is that retroactive CS is most likely to be awarded when there is a large income discrepancy between the parties; there has been a major change in material circumstances since the original divorce order or separation agreement was signed; there was fraud or misrepresentation on the part of one party which only came to light after signing; and/or one party is enduring major financial hardship (in a shared custody situation). Retroactive CS is also usually awarded as of date of filing the motion for it, in other words, you won't have much luck starting proceedings in 2013 to get CS for 2008, if you've let the intervening years elapse without doing anything about it.

In other words, it's very difficult to justify.
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