In Florida, both parents are legally responsible for supporting their minor children. In some cases, when a divorce might have dragged on for a prolonged amount of time, it is possible that the finalized child support order might reflect payments that are designated as retroactive. It is important to note that these retroactive payments are not considered past due, though they can become past due if it remains unpaid. The maximum amount of retroactive child support payments available is capped at 24 months in the state of Florida.
There are also certain circumstances in which the amount of retroactive child support can be limited, including:
- The non-custodial parent was financially unable to pay, or could not pay due to a physical illness or other medical condition
- The custodial parent did not need child support during the timeframe in question
- Payments could only be backdated for up to two years prior to the date the custodial parent filed for child support
Do Retroactive Child Support Payments Affect Future Payments?
For those seeking retroactive child support, there might be a concern about how this could impact future child support payments. Rest assured, these payments will not reduce future payments that were already ordered and finalized by the court. Additionally, retroactive payments do not have an impact on future child support modifications, which might be necessary when the paying parent experiences a notable change in circumstances and most either reduce or temporarily postpone payments.
If the paying parent has been making child support payments from the time of the separation and throughout the divorce process, the court can factor this into retroactive payments and possibly reduce the amount. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure both parents are contributing their fair share of support for their children and neither is paying more than is required of them.
Seeking Retroactive Support
If you believe you are owed retroactive child support, you must file a written request or petition, specifying the date the payments should go back to, and provide reasons that justify your request for retroactive child support. Viable reasons you can provide include:
- The paying parent hid assets or concealed his or her financial status, which would have resulted in higher child support payments
- The child had unmet financial needs during a specific time period
- The paying parent avoided paying child support by withholding contact information
Be sure to seek retroactive child support as soon as possible since prolonging this request can decrease your chances of a judge ordering it.
How Does the Court Calculate Retroactive Child Support?
Much like child support, a judge will take the incomes of both parents during the timeframe in question into consideration to calculate an accurate amount of retroactive child support. As such, it will not matter what either spouse currently makes since that is not what this form of support is based on.
Income for the parents is determined by several factors, including:
- Salary and wages
- Overtime, tips, commission, bonuses
- Disability benefits
- Settlements or benefits from workers’ compensation claims
- Annuity payments
- Social Security benefits
- Spousal support from a previous marriage
- Spousal support ordered in the current marriage
- Interest income
- Rental income
In cases where a parent purposefully remains unemployed or underemployed to minimize support payments, the court can impute income based on what he or she was earning or might be earning.
Child Support Lawyers on the Emerald Coast
Deciding to split from your spouse can be a hard decision, which can be made all the more complex and stressful when children are involved. You might be worried about how you will pay for your child’s needs without the financial help you once relied on from your spouse. Child support can be a complicated family matter, which is why you should seek the skilled and experienced representation of a family law attorney. At Chesser & Barr, P.A., we dedicate ourselves to protecting your children’s needs and best interests. We are here to make sure your child receives a sufficient amount of money to ensure they are cared for in a way that upholds their current standard of living.
If you are searching for a family law attorney who can assist you with legal matters and provide you with support, our Emerald Coast legal team can help.
Call our office today at (850) 610-7471 to get started with a consultation.