Retroactive child support is when the courts make a child support order retroactive to a certain date. This means that the paying parent may end up immediately in arrears, and these arrears can be significant. For example, if the court orders retroactive child support payments of $500 per month backdated to one year, that is $6,000 in child support.

If you have questions about child support, whether you are the parent paying or receiving, our firm can help. Call or contact us today to find out more about our child support services and what your options are.

Is Retroactive Child Support Allowed in California?

Retroactive child support is allowed in California. However, it’s not something that happens in every case. Retroactive child support can be important for divorces that are lengthy. It’s common for the courts to backdate the child support once all of the orders are in place to the date of separation. Retroactive child support may also be awarded in cases where the parents were never married, and it took time to track down the father and get paternity established for a child support order.

Are There Limits on Retroactive Child Support?

In California, retroactive child support is limited to three years. This means that if your divorce gets dragged out for four years, the child support can only go back three years. However, this generally doesn’t happen in cases of contentious divorces because the courts would likely institute a temporary child support order until everything is negotiated and made official through the courts so that the children could start benefiting from that support sooner.

What Happens If the Parent Refuses to Pay?

If there is an official child support order for your case, it is important to take it seriously and do everything you can to make your support payments in full and on time. Not meeting your child support obligations can come with serious legal consequences. The child support enforcement agency can garnish your paycheck or bank account, intercept state and federal tax refunds, suspend your driver’s license and passport, and even order jail time. If you are supposed to be receiving support and the other parent isn’t paying, notify the child support agency and your attorney as soon as possible to find out what your options and next steps are.

Call or contact our Los Angeles law firm to get more information about how child support works in California. You can find out whether your case may be eligible for a support order, how much you may be able to get, and how to start the process of filing for an original support order or a child support modification request.