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Is retroactive support always ordered in divorce cases?

Retroactive child support is when a parent files a request to obtain child support that should have been paid at a time when it wasn't. This is a huge benefit to children who perhaps have gone a long time without additional support from one parent or who need the additional support due to extraneous expenses.

The parent who would like to seek retroactive child support should do a few things to obtain it. This includes:

  • Presenting evidence that the noncustodial parent didn't pay support
  • Providing proof that the noncustodial parent is the legal guardian or parent of the child
  • Presenting evidence that an attempt to collect support was made but failed

By doing these things, it's possible to show that a child is entitled to retroactive child support.

What happens if there isn't money for retroactive support?

The parent being asked for retroactive child support can seek to pay through alternative means. For example, if they just purchased the child school clothing that cost $400, the court can consider this alternative form of support as child support in some cases. For parents who may be asked for retroactive support, keeping receipts can help prove that they are covering the costs of raising a child, even if the money isn't going directly to the other parent.

A child support order is an obligation, and parents shouldn't avoid paying. However, when retroactive support is an issue, there may be different factors that the judge will consider, like alternative support, so that both parents can get back on track and work together to raise the child.

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