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Collecting Retroactive (Non-Court-Ordered) Child Support

Collecting Retroactive Child Support

If you have been served with a court order in Marvin necessitating child support payments or you are serving your child’s other parent with an order, it is important to know that retroactive child support must be considered in such a scenario. A North Carolina court order sets the amount of child support a non-custodial parent must pay from the date of the order and going forward. When a non-custodial parent declines to make court-ordered child support payments, North Carolina’s County Division of Social Services (DSS) has many enforcement measures that can be used to make sure payments are made. Once court-ordered child support payments are overdue, they are often regarded as back-support.

When a custodial parent in Marvin specifically petitions the court for it, “retroactive” child support may be ordered as well by a North Carolina family law court. Retroactive child support is different from other court-ordered payments in two ways - the period of time the payment covers and the manner in which the support payments are calculated. In order to understand this fully, it is necessary to first address prospective child support.

Prospective Child Support

Generally, court-ordered child support payments in Marvin will begin from the date the custodial parent filed his or her claim with DSS. Assuming there is no significant change in child custody arrangements, the needs of the child or children, and the financial situation of each parent, child support payments will be ordered to continue until the child reaches the age of 18, emancipates, or graduates from high school. This type of child support that goes into the future is referred to as “prospective” child support.

The manner in which a North Carolina court first establishes that a monthly amount of child support must be paid by a non-custodial parent can vary. If a child is born out of the parents’ prior marriage to one another, the child support order may be related to a final divorce decree or the couple’s separation agreement approved by a court. If the child was born out of wedlock, but paternity of the child has been confirmed, a court order for child support may have been sought and obtained by a custodial parent with the help of DSS.

Under North Carolina law, the value of Marvin court-ordered child support payments are often established by the North Carolina’s Child Support Guidelines (CSG). The CSGs account for the needs of the child and the non-custodial parent’s capacity to make these payments. North Carolina’s Conference of Chief District Judges write the CSGs and they updated a minimum of every four years. Of note, if in a separation agreement, the parents came to an agreement on the amount of child support, a North Carolina court will consider that agreement and base the support obligation of the non-custodial parent on the agreement rather than the CSGs.

Retroactive Child Support

If a North Carolina court issues an order for child support, sometimes called prospective child support, the custodial parent has the opportunity to file a petition for “retroactive” child support. Specifically, retroactive child support deals with reasonable expenses related to the care of the child that added up during the time frame before the custodial parent initiated their child support claim. As of 2011, retroactive child support in North Carolina is limited to only three years prior to the initial claim. In addition to the limited time frame, retroactive child support and prospective child support are determined in distinct ways. Under the eyes of the law in North Carolina and other parts of the country, providing financial support for your children is considered a legal and moral obligation that begins prior to the child’s birth. Simply put, if the mother of the child is the one filing for child support, then retroactive child support could include expenses for pregnancy and the child’s birth depending on when she first made the claim for support.

Previously, North Carolina law only allowed retroactive child support for the amount that was actually spent, and a parent seeking retroactive child support must include the rationale for why support is justified in the petition. This may include assertions that the financial needs of the child during the relevant time period in the petition that were unmet, the non-custodial parent hid his or her finances from the custodial parent, or the non-custodial parent intentionally avoided providing financial support to his or her child.

Family Law Attorneys

It is important to remember that retroactive non-court-ordered child support is something that the custodial parent must intentionally and specifically petition the court for when the original claim for child support is first filed. In other words, a North Carolina court will not issue retroactive child support without an initial request asking them to do so. If you are a custodial parent and are seeking retroactive child support from the other parent, please speak with an experienced family law attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to learn about your rights in Marvin.