Question: How should I request back child support payments?
Answer: When filing for child support, a custodial parent may also request retroactive support, also called "back child support." The claim for retroactive support must be supported by a list of expenses, on behalf of the child.
To establish a claim in child support proceedings for back child support payments, a custodial parent should be prepared to:
- Present proof that the non-custodial parent failed to support the child.
- Present evidence that the custodial parent attempted to collect child support payments from the non-custodial parent.
- If the non-custodial parent is the father, present proof that the father was aware of his probable paternity.
A parent may counter a claim for back child support payments by presenting proof of support in the way of receipts for clothing, food and other expenses. Often a parent who has not or could not provide monetary payments may provide other means of support such as regular child care. A court will consider alternative forms of support when money is not readily available for non-custodial parents.
Non-custodial parents should maintain detailed records, pertaining to child support provided. If receipts are unavailable, it's helpful to the court if parents can present communication records or perhaps a witness that can attest to the fact that the non-custodial parent has provided support for a child.
Retroactive child support is not mandatory. Prior to mandating retroactive child support, a court will consider the factors mentioned above, as well as other considerations, such as whether or not the non-custodial parent is financially able to pay back child support. Parents should check the laws of their specific states for more information on retroactive child support payments.