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Back Child Support

How to Request Back Child Support Payments

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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.

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