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What About Retroactive Child Support?


Retroactive child support payments may be something you are considering if a Family Court in Texas just ordered child support from another parent when it’s been long overdue. You may be wondering if it’s possible to receive payments that you would have received if the order has been made by the court earlier. In today’s article, we will learn more about how you can receive retroactive child support payments.


Steps in Seeking Retroactive Child Support Payments


There are steps you ought to follow if you want to receive retroactive child support payments. There are also steps that the court will go through before it can release an order for retroactive child support payments to be made. First, the court must figure out whether it is appropriate to order such payments to be made. If the court finds that such payments are appropriate for your case, they also need to determine the time period covered by the retroactive child support payments that are to be collected. After that, the court will also have to find out how much the paying parent earns monthly for the years covered by the retroactive child support period.


There are also guideline levels of child support that can be found in the Texas Family Code that is bound to be useful. These will be applied to the income of the paying parent in order to determine the actual child support payments owed. There might also be certain circumstances involved in the case that might cause the court to deviate from the amount of support prescribed by the guidelines. The court will have to consider these circumstances if there are any.


Other Court Considerations


The court will also consider whether the paying parent has been asked to pay child support in the past. If not, then it’s really possible for that parent to be ordered to pay retroactive child support. If you have already paid child support in the past, you can still be ordered to pay retroactive child support if the support was cut off due to marriage or remarriage to the other parent, or you have become separated and are awaiting new court orders.

As a parent, whether you are the requested or the requesting party, you have to understand few things about retroactive child support payments. A filed petition does not automatically mean that the court will grant it. It’s possible that the court will deny requests for retroactive child support payments especially when child support payments have been made in the past, even if the amount paid is lower than the guideline amount.


Determining the Scope of Retroactive Child Support Payment To Be Collected


The Texas Family Code include guidelines on how the court should determine a reasonable scope of retroactive child support payment that is to be collected. A reasonable amount should be what the court would have ordered as far as four years in the past. The court will always consider things according to what’s in the child’s best interests. It is pretty rare for a court to include a period beyond for years for retroactive child support payments.


However, if you have known for a certain period that you are the father of the child, it’s possible that the judge will order you retroactive child support from the date you first knew (or should have known) that you are the father of the child.


Court Calculations of Net Resources

The court will have to look up older information about you in order to figure out your net income for the period covered by the retroactive child support payment orders. The court will then apply the guidelines on that and determine how much you’d have to pay. However, the court would also consider health expenses and the child’s educational expenses, as well as the frequency of your visits to the child. These apply to you, of course, if you are the parent obliged to make child support payments.

The court will also consider whether or not the petitioning party has already tried to notify you in the past about you being the father of the child. If the court finds out that you were well-aware of your paternity, you could be in trouble. Your case could be considered under greater child support guidelines.


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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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