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Child Support in Focus: Retroactive Payments

If you do not have a child support order from a Texas Family Law Court that has ordered the payment of child support from another person to you, it may be a question bouncing around in your mind whether or not you can go back and collect fees that would have been made if an order was in place.

If you are the party that would either be eligible to receive those payments or the party that would be on the hook for retroactive child support payments, this is a blog that will hopefully be of some assistance to you.

How to go about seeking retroactive child support payments

A court must if you are seeking to receive retroactive child support payments, do the following:

  1. Figure out whether it must order these payments to be made
  2. Determine the actual period that retroactive child support should be collected for
  3. Determine what the paying spouse (obligor) earns in terms of net monthly resources for each year that retroactive child support is ordered
  4. Take the Guideline levels of child support from the Texas Family Code and apply them to the income set forth from #3, and determine what is owed in retroactive child support
  5. Take into consideration any circumstances/factors that are necessary to deviate from the guidelines levels of support

From the obligor’s standpoint, one of the first things that a court will consider is whether or not they have ever been ordered to pay child support on any previous occasion.

If you are the noncustodial parent of a child and have never been ordered to pay child support, you can be ordered to pay retroactive child support by a court. On the other hand, if you have been previously ordered by a court to pay support for this child, then a court can still call you to pay support if:

  1. The earlier child support order terminated because you married or remarried the parent who has filed the petition to receive retroactive child support payments
  2. You and the Petitioner then became separated after you married or remarried
  3. Now that there is a separation ongoing, the Petitioner is seeking a new order based on that separation

The key here is to understand that just because you have filed or someone has filed against you for retroactive child support does not mean that a judge has to grant the petition. I have seen judges make rulings that have denied retroactive child support petitions because the obligor had previously paid amounts towards the child's support even if those amounts were less than the guideline amounts outlined in the Texas Family Code.

How is the period that child support is to be collected determined?

Based on the Family Code, if your court orders an amount of support that would have been collected for the prior four-year period before the retroactive child support suit had been filed will likely be considered reasonable.

Keep in mind that the standard a court uses when making any decisions regarding a child is whether or not an order is in the child’s best interests. If you are a parent who is worried that you may be on the hook for retroactive child support, this may lift your spirits a tad. There are not that many circumstances that I can think of that will cause a court to award retroactive child support beyond four years.

If you knew or should have known that you were the father of a child whose other parent was seeking the establishment of a child support order and you attempted to avoid the obligation, it is possible that a judge could order retroactive child support back until the date you knew or should have known of your responsibility to pay child support.

Net Resources- How is this calculated for a potential obligor parent?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you may recall that we have written pretty extensively in the past about this subject.

I’ll save you all the rehashing of the subject here and instead point you to search for this topic on our website. You will find all the information you could want on the subject in our archives.

Obviously, for retroactive child support, the court will need to rely on older information to impute a net resources figure on you and then apply the guidelines outlined in the Texas Family Code (unless it has reason to deviate from those standards).

A court may consider costs associated with:

  1. the health or education of your child
  2. the frequency with which you have visitation with your child and also
  3. the age of your child

when considering whether to deviate from the statutory standards for child support.

Additionally, as it pertains specifically to retroactive child support, a court will consider whether or not the petitioning party has attempted to notify you previously of the fact that you are the father of this child.

If it looks to the court that you knew of your paternity or should have known based on evidence made available to you, then you may be on the hook for a greater than guidelines level of child support if such an order would not place an undue hardship upon you from a financial perspective.

Questions on retroactive child support? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today

Whether you are the parent who may be potentially liable to pay retroactive child support or are the parent who is seeking retroactive child support, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, are here to help.

Our licensed family law attorneysattorneys are available six days a week to meet with you to answer your questions in a free of charge consultation. We represent clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to discuss the services we can provide you and your family as well.

Book an appointment with Law Office of Bryan Fagan using SetMore


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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Texas Child Support: A word (or two) on Net Resources
  2. How to correctly calculate child support in Texas
  3. Is Overtime Pay or Bonus Pay Considered for Texas Child Support?
  4. Child Support in Texas: What is the most you will have to pay, and what are the exceptions to that rule?
  5. The Dirty Trick of Quitting Your Job to Avoid Child Support During a Texas Divorce
  6. Can I get child support while my Texas divorce is pending?
  7. Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody of My Child in Texas?
  8. Can I Sue My Ex for Retroactive or Back Child Support in Texas?
  9. Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
  10. Texas Child Support Appeals
  11. In Texas, are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
  12. Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
  13. Can I get child support and custody of my kids in Texas if we were never married?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Child Support Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child support, it's essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, child support lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our child support lawyers lawyerslawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles child support cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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