Child support issues are among the most complicated and time consuming, especially if one party is fighting the divorce. It is quite common for parents to take child support issues to court in order to ensure there is no bias when it comes to any important decisions pertaining to children in a divorce. Child support in itself can be confusing and, as Oklahoma family law attorneys, we get a lot of questions regarding the legality of different steps required to obtain child support. One of the most common questions we field is when can a parent seek child support. If a divorce is getting messy and being drawn out in court, the parent with legal guardianship of the children oftentimes struggle because they are not getting any child support while everything is being sorted out. Thankfully, retroactive child support allows the court to award support for an earlier period when there wasn’t an order in place, which could even go as far back as the child’s birth. If this is news to you, you’re not alone.
Defining Retroactive Child Support
In the most basic sense, a retroactive child support order aims to address any past circumstances where one parent was caring for the child without receiving any financial support from the other party. There are many, many instances in which retroactive child support may be awarded, such as if there was a question of income that was later revealed to be higher than previously thought or if a parent was absent for many years.
Under most state laws, parents have the legal responsibility to support their children until they are 18 years old. Keep in mind that this law varies by state, which is why it is important to retain the services of a knowledgeable family law attorney if you are seeking child support of any kind. When parents either never married and are not together or went through a divorce, the party with less guardianship may be required by law to offer financial support in order to help the other parent provide adequate support for the child or children. It is important to keep in mind that retroactive child support is not mandatory or automatic and that it is awarded on a case-to-case basis.
Examples of When Retroactive Child Support is Awarded
While retroactive child support is typically awarded based on each specific case, there are a handful of reasons that may justify this form of support:
- The non-custodial parent did not fully disclose their finances
- The non-custodial parent intentionally avoided paying child support
- A final hearing on child support has been delayed
- The parent seeking support has strong evidence of their need for the additional financial assistance
How much child support and on what terms is decided by the court system. Courts have a lot of power when it comes to deciding a wide range of child support issues, such as awarding retroactive support. If you have questions about this topic or would like to discuss your particular case with one of our attorneys, please do not hesitate to contact a family law attorney from Atkins & Markoff today.